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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Land Use Change for Crops on Water and Carbon Budgets in the Midwest USA

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Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
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State Key Laboratory for Remote Sensing Science, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 20 Datun Road, Beijing 100101, China
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Department of Soil, Water, and Climate, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA
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Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA
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Renewable Resources Division, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 20 Datun Road, Beijing 100101, China
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Torretta
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020225
Received: 15 December 2016 / Revised: 29 January 2017 / Accepted: 31 January 2017 / Published: 7 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Increasing demand for food and bioenergy has altered the global landscape dramatically in recent years. Land use and land cover change affects the environmental system in many ways through biophysical and biogeochemical mechanisms. In this study, we evaluate the impacts of land use and land cover change driven by recent crop expansion and conversion on the water budget, carbon exchange, and carbon storage in the Midwest USA. A dynamic global vegetation model was used to simulate and examine the impacts of landscape change in a historical case based on crop distribution data from the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Services. The simulation results indicate that recent crop expansion not only decreased soil carbon sequestration (60 Tg less of soil organic carbon) and net carbon flux into ecosystems (3.7 Tg·year−1 less of net biome productivity), but also lessened water consumption through evapotranspiration (1.04 × 1010 m3·year−1 less) over 12 states in the Midwest. More water yield at the land surface does not necessarily make more water available for vegetation. Crop residue removal might also exacerbate the soil carbon loss. View Full-Text
Keywords: land use and land cover change; agriculture; evapotranspiration; soil organic carbon; net biome productivity; Agro-IBIS land use and land cover change; agriculture; evapotranspiration; soil organic carbon; net biome productivity; Agro-IBIS
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Sun, J.; Twine, T.E.; Hill, J.; Noe, R.; Shi, J.; Li, M. Effects of Land Use Change for Crops on Water and Carbon Budgets in the Midwest USA. Sustainability 2017, 9, 225.

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