Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 519–529 | Cite as

Human appropriation of aboveground photosynthetic production in the Czech Republic

  • David VačkářEmail author
  • Erika Orlitová
Original Article


We assessed human impacts on ecosystems by calculating the proportion of aboveground net primary production appropriated by humans (aHANPP) in the territory of the Czech Republic. The human appropriation of aboveground net primary production reached 21.5 Tg C per year in 2006 or 56% of the annual potential natural productivity. Harvested productivity equivalent aNPPH is contributing to the overall appropriation of photosynthetic production by 80%. Considerable productivity losses have been induced by agricultural land conversion and urbanization. While artificial surfaces are responsible for the appropriation of whole ecosystem production, productivity of urban green areas and managed forests can even exceed natural productivity levels. In the period 1990–2000, the aHANPP dropped by 7%, but the indicator shows an increase by over 2% in the period 2000–2006. The indicator of human appropriation of net primary production enables translation of land cover changes into measures of ecosystem services affected by human activities. We found aHANPP to be a suitable indicator of human impacts on ecosystems, as it detects trends and enables spatial mapping of human impacts.


Human appropriation of net primary production Land cover change Ecosystem use Biophysical indicators Human impacts Czech Republic 



We thank H. Haberl and two anonymous reviewers for comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. L. Skapec (AOPK CR), Institute of Botany (AV CR) and CENIA, kindly provided data on potential natural vegetation and Corine Land Cover. We also thank our colleagues B. Moldan, J. Kovanda, and M. Havranek for useful comments on the analysis, and O. Nalevka for assistance with GIS data preparation. The research was funded by grant number 2B06183, National Research Program II, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.

Supplementary material

10113_2010_167_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (857 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 856 kb)


  1. Ayres RU, Simonis UE (eds) (1994) Industrial metabolism: restructuring for sustainable development. United Nations University Press, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  2. Balvanera P, Pfisterer AB, Buchmann N, He J-S, Nakashizuka T, Raffaelli D, Schmid B (2006) Quantifying the evidence for biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning and services. Ecol Lett 9:1146–1156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bargo F, Miller LD, Kolver ES, Delahoy JE (2003) Production and digestion of supplemented dairy cows on pasture. J Dairy Sci 86:1–42Google Scholar
  4. Bengtsson J, Nilsson SG, Franc A, Menozzi P (2000) Biodiversity, disturbances, ecosystem function and management of European forests. For Ecol Manag 132:39–50. doi: 10.1016/S0378-1127(00)00378-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bradford JB, Lauenroth WK, Burke IC (2005) The impact of cropping on primary production in the US Great Plains. Ecology 86:1863–1872. doi: 10.1890/04-0493 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cardoch L, Day JW Jr, Ibanez C (2002) Net primary productivity as an indicator of sustainability in the Ebro and Mississippi deltas. Ecol Appl 12:1044–1055. doi: 10.1890/1051-0761(2002)012[1044:NPPAAI]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clark DA, Brown S, Kicklighter DW, Chambers JQ, Thomlinson JR, Ni J (2001) Measuring net primary production in forests: concepts and field methods. Ecol Appl 11:356–370. doi: 10.1890/1051-0761(2001)011 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cramer W, Kicklighter DW, Bondeau A, Moore B III, Churkina G, Nemry B, Ruimy A, Schloss AL, The Participants of the Potsdam NPP Model Intercomparison (1999) Comparing global models of terrestrial net primary productivity (NPP): overview and key results. Glob Chang Biol 5(S1):1–15. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2486.1999.00009.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. DeFries R (2002) Past and future sensitivity of primary production to human modification of the landscape. Geophys Res Lett 29:1–4. doi: 10.1029/2001GL013620 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. DeFries RS, Field CB, Fung I, Collatz GJ, Bounoua L (1999) Combining satellite data and biogeochemical models to estimate global effects of human-induced land cover change on carbon emmissions and primary productivity. Global Biogeochem Cycles 13:803–815CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. EEA (2006) Land accounts for Europe 1990–2000: towards integrated land and ecosystem accounting. European Environment Agency, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  12. Erb K-H, Gingrich S, Krausmann F, Haberl H (2008) Industrialization, fossil fuels, and the transformation of land use: an integrated analysis of carbon flows in Austria 1830–2000. J Ind Ecol 12:686–703. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-9290.2008.00076.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Erb K-H, Krausmann F, Gaube V, Gingrich S, Bondeau A, Fischer-Kowalski M, Haberl H (2009) Analyzing the global human appropriation of net primary production—processes, trajectories, implications. An introduction. Ecol Econ 69:250–259. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.07.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Foley JA, DeFries R, Asner GP, Barford C et al (2005) Global consequences of land use. Science 309:570–574. doi: 10.1126/science.1111772 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Foley J, Monfreda C, Ramankutty N, Zaks D (2007) Our share of the planetary pie. Proc Nat Acad Sci 104:12585–12586. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0705190104 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Golubiewski N (2006) Urbanization increases grassland carbon pools: effects of landscaping in Colorado’s Front Range. Ecol Appl 16:555–571. doi: 10.1890/1051-0761(2006)016 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Haberl H (1997) Human Appropriation of Net Primary Production as an environmental indicator: implications to sustainable development. Ambio 26:143–146Google Scholar
  18. Haberl H, Erb K, Krausmann F, Loibl W, Schulz NB, Weisz H (2001) Changes in ecosystem processes induced by land use: human appropriation of net primary production and its influence on standing crop in Austria. Global Biogeochem Cycles 15:929–942. doi: 10.1029/2000GB001280 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Haberl H, Wackernagel M, Krausmann F, Erb KH, Monfreda C (2004) Ecological footprints and human appropriation of net primary production: a comparison. Land Use Policy 21:279–288. doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2003.10.008 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Haberl H, Erb KH, Krausmann F, Gaube V, Bondeau A, Plutzar C, Gingrich S, Lucht W, Fischer-Kowalski M (2007) Quantifying and mapping the human appropriation of net primary production in earth’s terrestrial ecosystems. Proc Nat Acad Sci 104:12942–12947. doi: 0.1073/pnas.0704243104 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hoekstra AY (2009) Human appropriation of natural capital: a comparison of ecological footprint and water footprint analysis. Ecol Econ 68:1963–1974. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2008.06.021 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Houghton RA, Goodale CL (2004) Effects of land-use change on the carbon balance of terrestrial ecosystems. Ecosyst Land Use Change, Geophys Monogr Ser 153:85–98. doi: 10.1029/153GM08 Google Scholar
  23. Imhoff ML, Bounoua L, Ricketts T, Loucks C, Harriss R, Lawrence WT (2004a) Global patterns in human consumption of net primary production. Nature 429:870–873. doi: 10.1038/nature02619 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Imhoff ML, Bounoua L, DeFries R, Lawrence WT, Stutzer D, Tucker CJ, Ricketts T (2004b) The consequences of urban land transformation on net primary productivity in the United States. Remote Sens Environ 89:433–434. doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2003.10.015 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Isselstein J, Jeangros B, Pavlu V (2005) Agronomic aspects of biodiversity targeted management of temperate grasslands in Europe: a review. Agron Res 3:139–151Google Scholar
  26. Jenkins JC, Chojnacky DC, Heath LS, Birdsey RA (2003) National-scale biomass estimators for United States tree species. For Sci 49:12–35Google Scholar
  27. Johnson JMF, Allmaras RR, Reicosky DD (2006) Estimating source carbon from crop residues, roots and rhizodeposits using the national grain-yield database. Agron J 98:622–636. doi: 10.2134/agronj2005.0179 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kaye JP, McCulley RL, Burke IC (2005) Carbon fluxes, nitrogen cycling, and soil microbial communities in adjacent urban, native and agricultural ecosystems. Glob Chang Biol 11:575–587. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2005.00921.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kohlheb N, Krausmann F (2009) Land use change, biomass production and HANPP: The case of Hungary 1961–2005. Ecol Econ 69:292–300. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.07.010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Krausmann F (2001) Land use and industrial modernization: an empirical analysis of human influence on the functioning of ecosystems in Austria 1830–1995. Land Use Policy 18:17–26. doi: 10.1016/S0264-8377(00)00042-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lal R (2004) Soil carbon sequestration impacts on global climate change and food security. Science 304:1623–1627. doi: 10.1126/science.1097396 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lehtonen A, Mäkipää R, Heikkinen J, Sievänen R, Liski J (2004) Biomass expansion factors (BEFs) for Scots pine, Norway spruce and birch according to stand age for boreal forests. For Ecol Manage 188:211–224. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2003.07.008 Google Scholar
  33. Lobell DB, Hicke JA, Asner GP, Field CB, Tucker CJ, Los SO (2002) Satellite estimates of productivity and light use efficiency in United States agriculture, 1982–98. Glob Chang Biol 8:722–735. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2486.2002.00503.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. MA (2005) Ecosystems and human well-being: synthesis. Island Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  35. McNaughton SJ, Oesterheld M, Frank DA, Williams KJ (1989) Ecosystem-level patterns of primary productivity and herbivory in terrestrial habitats. Nature 341:142–144. doi: 10.1038/341142a0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Melillo JM, McGuire AD, Kicklighter DW, Moore BIII, Vorosmarty CJ, Schloss AL (1993) Global climate change and terrestrial net primary production. Nature 263:234–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Milesi C, Elvidge CD, Nemani RR, Running SW (2003) Assessing the impact of urban land development on net primary productivity in the southeastern United States. Remote Sens Environ 86:401–410. doi: 10.1016/S0034-4257(03)00081-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Milesi C, Running SW, Elvidge CD, Dietz JB, Tuttle BT, Nemani RR (2005) Mapping and modeling the biogeochemical cycling of turf grasses in the United States. Environ Manage 36:426–438. doi: 10.1007/s00267-004-0316-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. National Research Council (2000) Ecological indicators for the nation. National Academy Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  40. Neuhäuslova Z (ed) (1998) Map of potential natural vegetation of the Czech Republic. Academia, PragueGoogle Scholar
  41. Nunes de Lima MV (ed) (2005) Image2000 and CLC2000: products and methods. Joint Research Centre, IspraGoogle Scholar
  42. O’Neill DW, Tyedmers PH, Beazley KF (2007) Human appropriation of net primary production (HANPP) in Nova Scotia, Canada. Reg Environ Change 7:1–14. doi: 10.1007/s10113-006-0021-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Odum EP (1969) The strategy of ecosystem development. Science 164:262–270. doi: 10.1126/science.164.3877.262 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Palmer JW (1988) Annual dry matter production and partitioning over the first 5 years of a bed system of Crispin/M.27 apple trees at four spacings. J Appl Ecol 25:569–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Piringer M, Grimmond CSB, Joffre SM, Mestayer P, Middleton DR, Rotach MW, Baklanov A, De Ridder K, Ferreira J, Guilloteau E, Karppinen A, Martilli A, Masson V, Tombrou M (2002) Investigating the surface energy balance in urban areas—recent advances and future needs. Water Air Soil Pollut 2:1567–7230. doi: 10.1023/A:1021302824331 Google Scholar
  46. Prasad KV, Badarinth KVS (2004) Land use changes and trends in human appropriation of above ground net primary production (HANPP) in India (1961–98). Geogr J 170:51–63. doi: 10.1111/j.0016-7398.2004.05015.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Prazan J, Ratinger T, Krumalova V (2005) The evolution of nature conservation policy in the Czech Republic—challenges of Europeanisation in the White Carpathians Protected Landscape Area. Land Use Policy 22:235–243. doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2003.09.010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Prince SD, Haskett J, Steininger M, Strand H, Wright R (2001) Net primary production of U.S. Midwest croplands from agricultural harvest yield data. Ecol Appl 11:1194–1205. doi: 10.1890/1051-0761(2001)011[1194:NPPOUS]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Reich PB, Bolstad P (2001) Productivity of evergreen and deciduous temperate forests. In: Roy J, Saugier B, Mooney HA (eds) Terrestrial global productivity. Academic Press, San Diego London, pp 245–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rojstaczer S, Sterling SM, Moore NJ (2001) Human appropriation of photosynthesis products. Science 294:2549–2552. doi: 10.1126/science.1064375 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Schochat E, Warren PS, Faeth SH, McIntyre NE, Hope D (2006) From patterns to emerging processes in mechanistic urban ecology. Trends Ecol Evol 21:186–191. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2005.11.019 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Schulze E-D, Högberg P, van Oene H, Persson T, Harrison AF, Read D, Kjøller A, Mateucci G (2000a) Interactions between the carbon and nitrogen cycles and the role of biodiversity: a synopsis of a study along a north-south transect through Europe. In: Schulze E-D (ed) Carbon and nitrogen cycling in European forest ecosystems. Ecological Studies, vol 142. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, pp 468–491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Schulze E-D, Wirth C, Heimann M (2000b) Managing forests after Kyoto. Science 289:2058–5487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Schwarzlmüller E (2009) Human appropriation of aboveground net primary production in Spain, 1955–2003: an empirical analysis of the industrialization of land use. Ecol Econ 69:282–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Smil V (1999) Crop residues: agriculture’s largest harvest. BioScience 49: 299-308Google Scholar
  56. Svirejeva-Hopkins A, Schellnhuber HJ (2006) Modelling carbon dynamics from urban land conversion: fundamental model of city in relation to a local carbon cycle. Carbon Balance Manag 1:8. doi: 10.1186/1750-0680-1-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Vitousek PM, Ehrlich PR, Ehrlich AH, Matson PA (1986) Human appropriation of the products of photosynthesis. Bioscience 36:368–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Vitousek PM, Mooney HA, Lubchenco J, Melillo JM (1997) Human domination of Earth’s ecosystems. Science 277:494–499. doi: 10.1126/science.277.5325.494 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Xu C, Liu M, An S, Chen JM, Yan P (2007) Assessing the impact of urbanization on regional net primary productivity in Jiangyin County, China. J Environ Manag 85:597–606. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2006.08.015 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Charles University in Prague, Environment CenterPraha 6Czech Republic
  2. 2.GISATPraha 7Czech Republic

Personalised recommendations