Land-Use Change and Ecosystem Carbon Dynamics

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2019) | Viewed by 5393

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Research Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey, Seattle, WA, USA
Interests: land-use land-cover change; remote sensing; ecosystem carbon dynamics; ecological modeling; scenarios

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Guest Editor
Research Physical Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA, USA
Interests: ecosystem science; biogeochemistry; carbon cycle science; ecological modeling; remote sensing; geospatial analysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Humans have a long history of altering terrestrial ecosystems to suit their needs. These anthropogenic changes in land use and land cover, as well as human alteration of natural disturbance regimes, can have wide-ranging effects on ecosystem carbon balance, which in turn can induce both positive and negative feedbacks on the global climate system. For example, land-use change is responsible for approximately one-third of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions from 1850 to the present. Quantifying how changes in land use and land cover affect ecosystem carbon balance has been the subject of considerable research spanning a wide range of spatial, temporal, and thematic dimensions, yet significant uncertainties and knowledge gaps remain. Areas of potential advancement include:

  1. Improved attribution of disturbances from remote sensing platforms, including timber harvest, fire, insect outbreak, and storm damage, with specific implications towards carbon monitoring and assessment.
  2. Quantification of soil and ecosystem carbon fluxes resulting from different types of land-use and land-cover conversion (e.g., urbanization, forest and agricultural management).
  3. Quantification of terrestrial to aquatic lateral transfers of carbon resulting from land-use and land-cover change.
  4. Improved scaling, with uncertainty, of site-level empirical observations of land change and ecosystem carbon balance to regional/continental scales.
  5. Improved data-model integration to provide more realistic projections of future land change impacts on ecosystem carbon balance.
  6. Local, regional, national, and global assessment and synthesis.
  7. Understanding impacts of climate adaptation and mitigation strategies on ecosystem carbon balance.
  8. Innovations in mapping and monitoring of ecosystem carbon stocks and fluxes.

This Special Issue invites articles focusing on quantifying the effects of land change on ecosystem carbon balance. Articles can cover a range of themes within this topical area, including, but not limited to, the topics listed above, and may cover a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. We welcome reviews, meta-analyses, and modeling papers, but we are especially interested in empirical studies geared toward improving model projections of land change effects on ecosystem carbon balance. For more information on this Special Issue of Land please contact the guest editors below.

Mr. Benjamin M. Sleeter
Dr. Paul C. Selmants
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (1 paper)

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14 pages, 4674 KiB  
Forest Carbon Gain and Loss in Protected Areas of Uganda: Implications to Carbon Benefits of Conservation
by Belachew Gizachew, Svein Solberg and Stefano Puliti
Land 2018, 7(4), 138; - 16 Nov 2018
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4821
Uganda designated 16% of its land as Protected Area (PA). The original goal was natural resources, habitat and biodiversity conservation. However, PAs also offer great potential for carbon conservation in the context of climate change mitigation. Drawing on a wall-to-wall map of forest [...] Read more.
Uganda designated 16% of its land as Protected Area (PA). The original goal was natural resources, habitat and biodiversity conservation. However, PAs also offer great potential for carbon conservation in the context of climate change mitigation. Drawing on a wall-to-wall map of forest carbon change for the entire Uganda, that was developed using two Digital Elevation Model (DEM) datasets for the period 2000–2012, we (1) quantified forest carbon gain and loss within 713 PAs and their external buffer zones, (2) tested variations in forest carbon change among management categories, and (3) evaluated the effectiveness of PAs and the prevalence of local leakage in terms of forest carbon. The net annual forest carbon gain in PAs of Uganda was 0.22 ± 1.36 t/ha, but a significant proportion (63%) of the PAs exhibited a net carbon loss. Further, carbon gain and loss varied significantly among management categories. About 37% of the PAs were “effective”, i.e., gained or at least maintained forest carbon during the period. Nevertheless, carbon losses in the external buffer zones of those effective PAs significantly contrast with carbon gains inside of the PA boundaries, providing evidence of leakage and thus, isolation. The combined carbon losses inside the boundaries of a large number of PAs, together with leakage in external buffer zones suggest that PAs, regardless of the management categories, are threatened by deforestation and forest degradation. If Uganda will have to benefit from carbon conservation from its large number of PAs through climate change mitigation mechanisms such as REDD+, there is an urgent need to look into some of the current PA management approaches, and design protection strategies that account for the surrounding landscapes and communities outside of the PAs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land-Use Change and Ecosystem Carbon Dynamics)
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