U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Valuing Carbon and Improving Agricultural Productivity Preserves Tropical Forests
Published: October 04, 2010
Posted: November 03, 2010

A paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition this week reports new findings that could lead to new strategies to prevent deforestation and mitigate climate change. Using a global integrated human-natural systems model, researchers from the DOE-funded Joint Global Change Research Institute find that improvements in agricultural yields and economic valuation of carbon in forests could, when combined, prevent widespread tropical deforestation over the 21st century. Preserving forests on this scale would reduce carbon emissions from land use change from ~4 GtCO2 yr-1 today to less than 1 GtCO2 yr-1 by 2020 and would hold emissions at that level through the 21st century. Improving crop productivity alone reduces emissions but does not prevent widespread tropical deforestation. Economic valuation of forests alone results in a 50% decline in carbon emissions from land use change. However, combining improvements in productivity with economic valuation not only preserves tropical forests but increases their extent. This work demonstrates, for the first time, the role of improved agricultural technology as a climate mitigation strategy. The results provide new insights into how agriculture and land use might change over time in response to the economic pressure to limit emissions.

Reference: AM Thomson, KV Calvin, LP Chini, G Hurtt, JA Edmonds, B Bond-Lamberty, S Frolking, MA Wise, and AC Janetos, "Climate mitigation and the future of tropical landscapes," Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, Early Edition online the week of Oct. 4-8, 2010, 10.1073/pnas.0910467107.

Contact: Bob Vallario, SC 23.1, (301) 903-5758
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Multisector Dynamics (formerly Integrated Assessment)

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)