Climatic Change

, Volume 80, Issue 3–4, pp 323–336 | Cite as

Satellite-derived estimates of potential carbon sequestration through afforestation of agricultural lands in the United States

  • Christopher Potter
  • Steven Klooster
  • Seth Hiatt
  • Matthew Fladeland
  • Vanessa Genovese
  • Peggy Gross
Original Article

Abstract

Afforestation of marginal agricultural lands represents a promising option for carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems. An ecosystem carbon model was used to generate new national maps of annual net primary production (NPP), one each for continuous land covers of ‘forest’, ‘crop’, and ‘rangeland’ over the entire U. S. continental area. Direct inputs of satellite “greenness” data from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) sensor into the NASA-CASA carbon model at 8-km spatial resolution were used to estimate spatial variability in monthly NPP and potential biomass accumulation rates in a uniquely detailed manner. The model predictions of regrowth forest production lead to a conservative national projection of 0.3 Pg C as potential carbon stored each year on relatively low-production crop or rangeland areas. On a regional level, the top five states for total crop afforestation potential were: Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri, whereas the top five states for total rangeland afforestation potential are: Texas, California, Montana, New Mexico, and Colorado. Afforestation at this level of intensity has the capacity to offset at least one-fifth of annual fossil fuel emission of carbon in the United States. These projected afforestation carbon gains also match or exceed recent estimates of the annual sink for atmospheric CO2 in currently forested area of the country.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alig R, Adams D, Mccarl B, Callaway JM, Winnett S (1997) Assessing effects of mitigation strategies for global climate change with an inter-temporal model of the U.S. forest and agriculture sectors. Environ Resour Econ 9:259–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Birdsey RA, Heath LS (1995) Productivity of America's forest and climatic change. In: Joyce LA (ed) U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins, CO, General Technical Report RM-GTR 271, pp 56–70Google Scholar
  3. Brown S, Sathaye J, Cannell M, Kauppi P (1996) Management of forests for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. In: Watson RT, Zinyowera MC, Moss RH (eds) Climate change 1995: impacts, adaptations and mitigation of climate change: scientific-technical analyses. Contribution of Working Group II to the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, Chapter 24Google Scholar
  4. Dixon RK (1995) Agroforestry systems: sources or sinks of greenhouse gas? Agroforestry Syst 31:99–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Energy Information Administration (EIA) U.S. Department of Energy (2004) The voluntary reporting of greenhouse gases program. Report #: DOE/EIA-0608, Washington, DC, 81 ppGoogle Scholar
  6. Energy Information Administration (EIA) U.S. Department of Energy (2003a) Method for calculating carbon sequestration by trees in urban and suburban settings. United States Department of Energy Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program, Washington, DC, 15 ppGoogle Scholar
  7. Energy Information Administration (EIA) U.S. Department of Energy (2003b) Emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States 2002. Office of Integrated Analysis and Forecasting, Report number DOE/EIA-0573, Washington, DC, 126 ppGoogle Scholar
  8. Friedl MA, McIver DK, Hodges JCF, Zhang XY, Muchoney D, Strahler H, Woodcock CE, Gopal S, Schneider A, Cooper A, Baccini A, Gao F, Schaaf C (2002) Global land cover mapping from MODIS: algorithms and early results. Remote Sensing Environ 83:287–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Graham PJ (2003) Potential for climate change mitigation through afforestation: an economic analysis of fossil fuel substitution and carbon sequestration benefits. Agroforestry Syst 59: 85–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Houghton RA, Hackler JL, Lawrence KT (1999) The US carbon budget: contributions from land-use change. Science 285:574–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Intergovenmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2000) In: Watson RT, Noble IR, Bolin B, Ravindranath NH, Verardo DJ, Dokken DJ (eds) IPCC special report on land use, land-use change and forestry. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK/New York, 377 ppGoogle Scholar
  12. Knyazikhin Y, Martonchik JV, Myneni RB, Diner DJ, Running SW (1998) Synergistic algorithm for estimating vegetation canopy leaf area index and fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation from MODIS and MISR data. J Geophys Res 103:32257–32276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lewandrowski J, Peters M, Jones C, House R, Sperow M, Eve M, Paustian K (2004) Economics of sequestering carbon in the U.S. agricultural sector, economic research service. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Technical Bulletin No. (TB1909), 69 ppGoogle Scholar
  14. Loveland TR, Reed BC, Brown JF, Ohlen DO, Zhu Z, Yang L, Merchant JW (2000) Development of a global land cover characteristics database and IGBP DISCover from 1 km AVHRR data. Int J Remote Sensing 21:1303–1365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Marland G, Fruit K, Sedjo R (2001) Accounting for sequestered carbon: the question of permanence. Environ Sci Policy 4:259–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Marland G, Schlamadinger B (1997) Forests for carbon sequestration or fossil fuel substitution? A sensitivity analysis. Biomass Bioenergy 13:389–397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Myneni RB, Dong J, Tucker CJ, Kaufmann RK, Kauppi PE, Liski J, Zhou L, Alexeye1 V, Hughes MK (2000) A large carbon sink in the woody biomass of northern forests. PNAS 98:14784–14789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nilsson S, Schopfhauser W (1995) The carbon-sequestration potential of a global afforestation programme. Climatic Change 30:267–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pacala SW, Hurtt GC, Baker D, Peylin P, Houghton RA, Birdsey RA, Heath L, Sundquist ET, Stallard RF, Ciais P, Moorcroft P, Caspersen JP, Shevliakova E, Moore B, Kohlmaier G, Holland E, Gloor M, Harmon ME, Fan S-M, Sarmiento JL, Goodale CL, Schimel D, Field CB (2001) Consistent land- and atmosphere-based U.S. carbon sink estimates. Science 292:2316–1320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Parton WJ, Schimel DS, Cole CV, Ojima DS (1987) Analysis of factors controlling soil organic matter levels in Great Plains grasslands. Soil Sci Soc Am J 51:1173–1179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pew Center on Global Climate Change (2004) Climate change activities in the United States. Arlington, VA, 56 ppGoogle Scholar
  22. Plantinga AJ, Mauldin T, Miller DJ (1999) An econometric analysis of the costs of sequestering carbon in forests. Am J Agric Econ 81:812–824CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Potter CS (1999) Terrestrial biomass and the effects of deforestation on the global carbon cycle. BioScience 49:769–778CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Potter CS, Randerson JT, Field CB, Matson PA, Vitousek PM, Mooney HA, Klooster SA (1993) Terrestrial ecosystem production: a process model based on global satellite and surface data. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 7(4):811–841Google Scholar
  25. Potter C, Klooster S, Myneni R, Genovese V, Tan P, Kumar V (2003) Continental scale comparisons of terrestrial carbon sinks estimated from satellite data and ecosystem modeling 1982–98. Global Planetary Change 39:201–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Running SW, Nemani RR, Heinsch Faith A, Zhao M, Reeves M, Hashimoto H (2004) A continuous satellite-derived measure of global terrestrial primary production. BioScience 54:547–560CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ryan MG, Hubbard RM, Pongracic S, Raison RJ, McMurtrie RE (1996) Foliage, fine-root, woody-tissue and stand respiration in Pinus radiata in relation to nitrogen status. Tree Physiol 16:333–343Google Scholar
  28. Turner DP, Koerper GJ, Harmon ME, Lee JJ (1995) Carbon sequestration by forests of the United States: current status and projections to the year 2040. Tellus 47B:232–239Google Scholar
  29. Valentini R, Matteucci G, Dolman AJ, Schulze E-D, Rebmann C, Moors EJ, Granier A, Gross P, Jensen NO, Pilegaard K, Lindroth A, Grelle A, Bernhofer C, Grunwald T, Aubinet M, Ceulemans R, Kowalski AS, Vesala T, Rannik U, Berbigier P, Loustau D, Gudmundsson J, Thorgeirsson H, Ibrom A, Morgenstern K, Clement R, Moncrieff J, Montagnani L, Minerbi S, Jarvis PG 2000. Respiration as the main determinant of carbon balance in European forests. Nature 404:861–865CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. VEMAP Participants, (2000) The VEMAP Phase I database: an integrated input dataset for ecosystem and vegetation modeling for the conterminous United States. CDROM and World Wide Web (URL: http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/vemap/)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Potter
    • 1
  • Steven Klooster
    • 2
  • Seth Hiatt
    • 3
  • Matthew Fladeland
    • 1
  • Vanessa Genovese
    • 2
  • Peggy Gross
    • 2
  1. 1.NASA Ames Research CenterMoffett FieldUSA
  2. 2.California State University Monterey BaySeasideUSA
  3. 3.San Jose State University and Education AssociatesMoffett FieldUSA

Personalised recommendations