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

By increasing the demand for food and bioenergy, the global landscape has altered dramatically in recent years. Land use and land cover change affects the environmental system in many ways through biophysical and biogeochemical mechanisms. Here, 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. Furthermore, 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 x 10 10 m 3 • 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.
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  1. Univ. of California, Irvine, CA (United States). Dept. of Earth System Science; Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing (China). Inst. of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth
  2. Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (United States). Dept. of Soil, Water, and Climate
  3. Univ. of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN (United States). Dept. of Bioproducts and Biosystems
  4. Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing (China). Inst. of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Sustainability (Basel)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Sustainability (Basel); Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 2071-1050
Research Org:
University of Minnesota's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, St Paul, MN (United States); Univ. of California, Irvine, CA, (United States); Univ. of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; land use and land cover change; agriculture; evapotranspiration; soil organic carbon; net biome productivity; Agro-IBIS
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1360808