The Underpinnings of Land Use History
Date: Wednesday, September 28 @ 08:00:00 MDT

by George Hurtt

To accurately assess the impacts of human land-use on the Earth System, information is needed on the current and historical patterns of land-use activities. Previous global studies have focused on developing reconstructions of the spatial patterns of agriculture. Here, we provide the first global gridded estimates of the underlying land conversions (land-use transitions), wood harvesting, and resulting secondary lands annually, for the period 1700-2000. For input, we used two existing datasets of global gridded land-use history—HYDE [Klein Goldewijk 2001] and SAGE [Ramankutty & Foley 1999], a new reconstruction of national wood harvest that we spatially disaggregated to a global gridded product, and model estimates of the spatial distribution of plant carbon density and its recovery. Since these do not fully constrain the problem, we added assumptions related to four additional factors: the residence time of agricultural land, the inclusiveness of wood harvest statistics, the priority for land conversion and logging (e.g. primary- or secondary-land), and the spatial pattern of wood harvest within countries. In order to estimate uncertainty and characterize model sensitivity, a set of 216 alternative reconstructions was derived using different assumptions. We estimate that the accumulated global wood harvest 1700-2000 was approximately 112 Pg C including slash.

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This article comes from The 7th International CO2 Conference Web Site

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