Historical carbon emissions and uptake from the agricultural frontier of the Brazilian Amazon

dc.contributor.author Galford, Gillian L.
dc.contributor.author Melillo, Jerry M.
dc.contributor.author Kicklighter, David W.
dc.contributor.author Mustard, John F.
dc.contributor.author Cronin, Timothy W.
dc.contributor.author Cerri, Carlos E. P.
dc.contributor.author Cerri, Carlos C.
dc.date.accessioned 2011-06-13T17:54:44Z
dc.date.available 2011-06-13T17:54:44Z
dc.date.issued 2011-04
dc.description Author Posting. © Ecological Society of America, 2011. This article is posted here by permission of Ecological Society of America for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Ecological Applications 21 (2011): 750–763, doi:10.1890/09-1957.1. en_US
dc.description.abstract Tropical ecosystems play a large and complex role in the global carbon cycle. Clearing of natural ecosystems for agriculture leads to large pulses of CO2 to the atmosphere from terrestrial biomass. Concurrently, the remaining intact ecosystems, especially tropical forests, may be sequestering a large amount of carbon from the atmosphere in response to global environmental changes including climate changes and an increase in atmospheric CO2. Here we use an approach that integrates census-based historical land use reconstructions, remote-sensing-based contemporary land use change analyses, and simulation modeling of terrestrial biogeochemistry to estimate the net carbon balance over the period 1901–2006 for the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, which is one of the most rapidly changing agricultural frontiers in the world. By the end of this period, we estimate that of the state's 925 225 km2, 221 092 km2 have been converted to pastures and 89 533 km2 have been converted to croplands, with forest-to-pasture conversions being the dominant land use trajectory but with recent transitions to croplands increasing rapidly in the last decade. These conversions have led to a cumulative release of 4.8 Pg C to the atmosphere, with 80% from forest clearing and 20% from the clearing of cerrado. Over the same period, we estimate that the residual undisturbed ecosystems accumulated 0.3 Pg C in response to CO2 fertilization. Therefore, the net emissions of carbon from Mato Grosso over this period were 4.5 Pg C. Net carbon emissions from Mato Grosso since 2000 averaged 146 Tg C/yr, on the order of Brazil's fossil fuel emissions during this period. These emissions were associated with the expansion of croplands to grow soybeans. While alternative management regimes in croplands, including tillage, fertilization, and cropping patterns promote carbon storage in ecosystems, they remain a small portion of the net carbon balance for the region. This detailed accounting of a region's carbon balance is the type of foundation analysis needed by the new United Nations Collaborative Programmme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). en_US
dc.description.sponsorship This work was supported by NASA’s Earth and Space Science Fellowship (G. L. Galford) and NASA’s Large-Scale Biosphere–Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (grant number NNG06GE20A). en_US
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.identifier.citation Ecological Applications 21(2011): 750–763 en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.1890/09-1957.1
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/1912/4644
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Ecological Society of America en_US
dc.relation.uri https://doi.org/10.1890/09-1957.1
dc.subject Amazon en_US
dc.subject CO2 fertilization en_US
dc.subject Carbon emissions en_US
dc.subject Cerrado en_US
dc.subject Crops en_US
dc.subject Global warming en_US
dc.subject Land cover and land use change en_US
dc.subject Mato Grosso, Brazil en_US
dc.subject Pasture en_US
dc.subject Soils en_US
dc.subject Terrestrial ecosystems model en_US
dc.subject United Nations Collaborative Programmme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) en_US
dc.title Historical carbon emissions and uptake from the agricultural frontier of the Brazilian Amazon en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dspace.entity.type Publication
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