Quantifying the Climate Regulation Values of Ecosystems Globally
Monday, 15 December 2014: 4:00 PM
Terrestrial ecosystems play an important role in the climate system, regulating climate through both biogeochemical (greenhouse-gas regulation) and biophysical (regulation of water and energy) mechanisms. However, initiatives aimed at climate protection through land management account only for biogeochemical mechanisms. By ignoring biophysical processes, these initiatives risk promoting suboptimal solutions. Our recently proposed metric for the climate regulation value (CRV) of ecosystems provides one potential approach to quantifying how biogeochemical and biophysical effects combine to determine the climate services of terrestrial ecosystems. In order to provide broadly accessible estimates of CRV for ecosystems worldwide, we have created an online ecosystem climate regulation services calculator with global coverage. The CRV calculator incorporates global maps of climatically significant ecosystem properties (for example, biomass, soil carbon, and evapotranspiration) to provide location-specific CRV estimates. We use this calculator to derive values for forests globally, revealing that CRV commonly differs meaningfully from values derived based purely on carbon storage. In the face of increasing land-use pressures and the increasingly urgent need for climate change mitigation, the CRV calculator has the potential to facilitate improved quantification of ecosystem climate regulation services by scientists, conservationists, policy makers, and the private sector.