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Title: The role of protected areas in land use/land cover change and the carbon cycle in the conterminous United States

Abstract

Protected areas (PAs) cover about 22% of the conterminous United States. Understanding their role on historical land use and land cover change (LULCC) and on the carbon cycle is essential to provide guidance for environmental policies. In this study, we compiled historical LULCC and PAs data to explore these interactions within the terrestrial ecosystem model (TEM). We found that intensive LULCC occurred in the conterminous United States from 1700 to 2005. More than 3 million km2 of forest, grassland and shrublands were converted into agricultural lands, which caused 10,607 Tg C release from land ecosystems to atmosphere. PAs had experienced little LULCC as they were generally established in the 20th century after most of the agricultural expansion had occurred. PAs initially acted as a carbon source due to land use legacies, but their accumulated carbon budget switched to a carbon sink in the 1960s, sequestering an estimated 1,642 Tg C over 1700–2005, or 13.4% of carbon losses in non-PAs. We also find that PAs maintain larger carbon stocks and continue sequestering carbon in recent years (2001–2005), but at a lower rate due to increased heterotrophic respiration as well as lower productivity associated to aging ecosystems. It is essential to continuemore » efforts to maintain resilient, biodiverse ecosystems and avoid large-scale disturbances that would release large amounts of carbon in PAs.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3];  [4]
  1. The Ecosystems Center, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole MA USA
  2. Departments of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames IA USA
  3. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Joint Global Change Research Institute, College Park MD USA
  4. Department Tapada da Ajuda, Centro de Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon Portugal
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1423408
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-130159
Journal ID: ISSN 1354-1013
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Global Change Biology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 24; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1354-1013
Publisher:
Wiley
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Lu, Xiaoliang, Zhou, Yuyu, Liu, Yaling, and Le Page, Yannick. The role of protected areas in land use/land cover change and the carbon cycle in the conterminous United States. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1111/gcb.13816.
Lu, Xiaoliang, Zhou, Yuyu, Liu, Yaling, & Le Page, Yannick. The role of protected areas in land use/land cover change and the carbon cycle in the conterminous United States. United States. doi:10.1111/gcb.13816.
Lu, Xiaoliang, Zhou, Yuyu, Liu, Yaling, and Le Page, Yannick. Tue . "The role of protected areas in land use/land cover change and the carbon cycle in the conterminous United States". United States. doi:10.1111/gcb.13816.
@article{osti_1423408,
title = {The role of protected areas in land use/land cover change and the carbon cycle in the conterminous United States},
author = {Lu, Xiaoliang and Zhou, Yuyu and Liu, Yaling and Le Page, Yannick},
abstractNote = {Protected areas (PAs) cover about 22% of the conterminous United States. Understanding their role on historical land use and land cover change (LULCC) and on the carbon cycle is essential to provide guidance for environmental policies. In this study, we compiled historical LULCC and PAs data to explore these interactions within the terrestrial ecosystem model (TEM). We found that intensive LULCC occurred in the conterminous United States from 1700 to 2005. More than 3 million km2 of forest, grassland and shrublands were converted into agricultural lands, which caused 10,607 Tg C release from land ecosystems to atmosphere. PAs had experienced little LULCC as they were generally established in the 20th century after most of the agricultural expansion had occurred. PAs initially acted as a carbon source due to land use legacies, but their accumulated carbon budget switched to a carbon sink in the 1960s, sequestering an estimated 1,642 Tg C over 1700–2005, or 13.4% of carbon losses in non-PAs. We also find that PAs maintain larger carbon stocks and continue sequestering carbon in recent years (2001–2005), but at a lower rate due to increased heterotrophic respiration as well as lower productivity associated to aging ecosystems. It is essential to continue efforts to maintain resilient, biodiverse ecosystems and avoid large-scale disturbances that would release large amounts of carbon in PAs.},
doi = {10.1111/gcb.13816},
journal = {Global Change Biology},
issn = {1354-1013},
number = 2,
volume = 24,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {8}
}

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