dataset : Carbon flux to the atmosphere from land-use changes 1850-2005

Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center CDIAC


Carbon flux to the atmosphere from land-use changes 1850-2005
Published in 2008.

The methods and data sources used to derive this time series of flux estimates are described in Houghton (1999, 2003), Houghton and Hackler (1995), and Houghton et al. (1983). In summary, this database provides estimates of regional and global net carbon fluxes, on a year-by-year basis from 1850 through 2005, resulting from changes in land use (such as harvesting of forest products and clearing for agriculture), taking into account not only the initial removal and oxidation of the carbon in the vegetation, but also subsequent regrowth and changes in soil carbon. The net flux of carbon to the atmosphere from changes in land use from 1850 to 2005 was modeled as a function of documented land-use change and changes in aboveground and belowground carbon following changes in land use. Annual rates of land-use change (for example, conversion of forest to cropland) and per hectare changes in carbon stocks (vegetation, slash, wood products, and soils) as a result of changes in land use were used in a carbon accounting model to calculate the annual net flux of carbon between land and the atmosphere that results from land management. The net flux includes both emissions of carbon from deforestation and sinks of carbon in forests recovering from harvests or agricultural abandonment. Changes in land use included the expansion and contraction of croplands and pastures, plantation establishment, and harvest of wood. Carbon budgeting included only those ecosystems converted to other uses or harvested; unmanaged ecosystems were not considered. Further, rates of growth and decomposition were ecosystem specific and did not vary in response to variations in climatic factors, CO2 concentrations, or other elements of environmental change. The analyses were spatially aggregated. Two to six types of ecosystems, with average carbon stocks, were considered for each of ten world regions.

This work is referenced by:

When citing this dataset please refer to Houghton, R.A. 2008. Carbon Flux to the Atmosphere from Land-Use Changes: 1850-2005. In TRENDS: A Compendium of Data on Global Change. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, Tenn., U.S.A..

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