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Houghton, R. A.; House, J. I.; Pongratz, Julia ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0372-3960; Werf, G. R. van der; DeFries, R. S.; Hansen, M. C.; Le Quéré, C. and Ramankutty, N. (2012): Carbon emissions from land use and land-cover change. In: Biogeosciences, Vol. 9, No. 12: pp. 5125-5142 [PDF, 1MB]

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Abstract

The net flux of carbon from land use and land-cover change (LULCC) accounted for 12.5% of anthropogenic carbon emissions from 1990 to 2010. This net flux is the most uncertain term in the global carbon budget, not only because of uncertainties in rates of deforestation and forestation, but also because of uncertainties in the carbon density of the lands actually undergoing change. Furthermore, there are differences in approaches used to determine the flux that introduce variability into estimates in ways that are difficult to evaluate, and not all analyses consider the same types of management activities. Thirteen recent estimates of net carbon emissions from LULCC are summarized here. In addition to deforestation, all analyses considered changes in the area of agricultural lands (croplands and pastures). Some considered, also, forest management (wood harvest, shifting cultivation). None included emissions from the degradation of tropical peatlands. Means and standard deviations across the thirteen model estimates of annual emissions for the 1980s and 1990s, respectively, are 1.14 +/- 0.23 and 1.12 +/- 0.25

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