Land Use Change

About 10-30% of the current total anthropogenic emissions of CO2 are estimated to be caused by land-use conversion. In the historical perspective, the share of land use is larger. From 1850 to 1998, 270 ± 30 PgC has been emitted as a result of fossil fuel burning, and 136 ± 55 PgC as a result of land-use change.

The current net land-use flux comprises the balance of positive terms due to deforestation and negative terms due to regrowth on abandoned agricultural land. During 1980s the net land-use flux of 1.7 ± 0.8 PgC yr-1 was almost entirely due to deforestation of tropical regions. Temperate forests show approximate balance between carbon uptake in regrowing forests and carbon lost in oxidation of wood products. Since the rates of deforestation are declining, the net land-use flux was slightly smaller in 1990s: 1.6 ± 0.8 PgC yr-1.

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