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Pongratz, Julia; Schwingshackl, Clemens; Bultan, Selma; Obermeier, Wolfgang; Havermann, Felix and Guo, Suqi (2021): Land Use Effects on Climate: Current State, Recent Progress, and Emerging Topics. In: Current Climate Change Reports, Vol. 7, No. 4: pp. 99-120

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Purpose of Review As demand for food and fiber, but also for negative emissions, brings most of the Earth's land surface under management, we aim to consolidate the scientific progress of recent years on the climatic effects of global land use change, including land management, and related land cover changes (LULCC). Recent Findings We review the methodological advances in both modeling and observations to capture biogeochemical and biogeophysical LULCC effects and summarize the knowledge on underlying mechanisms and on the strength of their effects. Recent studies have raised or resolved several important questions related to LULCC: How can we derive CO2 fluxes related to LULCC from satellites? Why are uncertainties in LULCC-related GHG fluxes so large? How can we explain that estimates of afforestation/reforestation potentials diverge by an order of magnitude? Can we reconcile the seemingly contradicting results of models and observations concerning the cooling effect of high-latitude deforestation? Major progress has been achieved in understanding the complementarity of modeling, observations, and inventories for estimating the impacts of various LULCC practices on carbon, energy, and water fluxes. Emerging fields are the operationalization of the recently achieved integration of approaches, such as a full greenhouse gas balance of LULCC, mapping of emissions from global models to country-reported emissions data, or model evaluation against local biogeophysical observations. Fundamental challenges remain, however, e.g., in separating anthropogenic from natural land use dynamics and accurately quantifying the first. Recent progress has laid the foundation for future research to integrate the local to global scales at which the various effects act, to create co-benefits between global mitigation, including land-based carbon dioxide removal, and changes in local climate for effective adaptation strategies.

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