Towards an integrated global framework to assess the impacts of land use and management change on soil carbon: Current capability and future vision
Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 3UU, United Kingdom; Shell Global Solutions (UK), Shell Technology Centre Thornton, PO Box 1, Chester, CH1 3SH, United Kingdom; Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO CH1 3SH, United States; Resources - Institute for Water Energy and Sustainability, Joanneum Research, Graz, A-8010, Austria; Embrapa Agrobiologia, Seropédica, 23890-000, Brazil; Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster, LA1 4AP, United Kingdom; Department of Sustainable Soils and Grassland Systems, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, AL5 2JQ, United Kingdom; National Centre for Rural Greenhouse Gas Research, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia; World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Situ Gede, Sindang Barang, Bogor 16115, Po Box 161, Bogor, 16001, Indonesia; Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, United States; Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, United States; Land Use Section, Government of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Edmonton, T6H 5T6, Canada; Plant Production Systems Group, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, Wageningen, NL, Netherlands; International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Box 30709, Nairobi, Kenya; Soils Policy Team, Defra, Area 3C, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR, United Kingdom; Energy Technologies Institute, Holywell Building, Holywell Park, Loughborough, LE11 3UZ, United Kingdom; BBSRC, Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon, SN2 1UH, United Kingdom; Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack, Orissa, 753 006, India; World Bank, 1818 H Street, NW, Washington, DC, United States
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Tier 1 methodologies commonly underpin project-scale carbon accounting for changes in land use and management and are used in frameworks for Life Cycle Assessment and carbon footprinting of food and energy crops. These methodologies were intended for use at large spatial scales. This can introduce error in predictions at finer spatial scales. There is an urgent need for development and implementation of higher tier methodologies that can be applied at fine spatial scales (e.g. farm/project/plantation) for food and bioenergy crop greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting to facilitate decision making in the land-based sectors. Higher tier methods have been defined by IPCC and must be well evaluated and operate across a range of domains (e.g. climate region, soil type, crop type, topography), and must account for land use transitions and management changes being implemented. Furthermore, the data required to calibrate and drive the models used at higher tiers need to be available and applicable at fine spatial resolution, covering the meteorological, soil, cropping system and management domains, with quantified uncertainties. Testing the reliability of the models will require data either from sites with repeated measurements or from chronosequences. We review current global capability for estimating changes in soil carbon at fine spatial scales and present a vision for a framework capable of quantifying land use change and management impacts on soil carbon, which could be used for addressing issues such as bioenergy and biofuel sustainability, food security, forest protection, and direct/indirect impacts of land use change. The aim of this framework is to provide a globally accepted standard of carbon measurement and modelling appropriate for GHG accounting that could be applied at project to national scales (allowing outputs to be scaled up to a country level), to address the impacts of land use and land management change on soil carbon. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
environmental monitoring; footprint; land management; land use change; life cycle analysis; modeling; soil carbon; spatial analysis