, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 895–907

Effects of Land-Use Change on Carbon Stocks in Switzerland


    • Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
  • Frank Hagedorn
    • Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
  • Jens Leifeld
    • Research Station Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART
  • Jürgen Böhl
    • Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
  • Stephan Zimmermann
    • Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
  • Reto Soliva
    • Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
  • Felix Kienast
    • Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL

DOI: 10.1007/s10021-008-9168-6

Cite this article as:
Bolliger, J., Hagedorn, F., Leifeld, J. et al. Ecosystems (2008) 11: 895. doi:10.1007/s10021-008-9168-6


We assessed how consequences of future land-use change may affect size and spatial shifts of C stocks under three potential trends in policy—(a) business-as-usual: continuation of land-use trends observed during the past 15 years; (b) extensification: full extensification of open-land; and (c) liberalization: full reforestation potential. The build-up times for the three scenarios are estimated at 30, 80 and 100 years, respectively. Potential C-stock change rates are derived from the literature. Whereas the business-as-usual scenario would cause marginal changes of 0.5%, liberalization would provoke a 13% increase in C stocks (+62 MtC). Gains of 24% would be expected for forests (+95 MtC), whereas open-land C stock would decrease 27% (−33 MtC). Extensification would lead to a C stock decrease of 3% (−12 MtC). Whereas forest C is expected to increase 12% (+36.5 MtC) at high elevations, stocks of open-land C would decline 38.5% (−48.5 MtC). Most affected are unfavorable grasslands, which increase in area (+59%) but contribute only 14.5% to the C stocks. C sinks would amount to 0.6 MtC y−1 assuming a build-up time of 100 years for the liberalization scenario. C stocks on the current forest area are increasing by 1 MtC y−1. The maximal total C sink of 1.6 MtC might thus suffice to compensate for agricultural greenhouse gases (2004: 1.4 Mt CO2–C equivalents), but corresponds only to 11–13% of the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission in Switzerland. Thus, even the largest of the expected terrestrial C stocks under liberalization will be small in comparison with current emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases.


agroecosystem changeagricultural declineC stockland-use changeforest Copen-land Csoil Cscenario-based modeling

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008