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Protecting climate with forests

Jackson, Robert B. and Randerson, James T. and Canadell, Josep G. and Anderson, Ray G. and Avissar, Roni and Baldocchi, Dennis D. and Bonan, Gordon B. and Caldeira, Ken and Diffenbaugh, Noah S. and Field, Christopher B. and Hungate, Bruce A and Jobbagy, Esteban G. and Kueppers, Lara M. and Nosetto, Marcelo D. and Pataki, Diane E. (2008) Protecting climate with forests. Environmental Research Letters, 3 (4). ISSN 1748-9326

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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/3/4/044006


Policies for climate mitigation on land rarely acknowledge biophysical factors, such as reflectivity, evaporation, and surface roughness. Yet such factors can alter temperatures much more than carbon sequestration does, and often in a conflicting way. We outline a framework for examining biophysical factors in mitigation policies and provide some best-practice recommendations based on that framework. Tropical projects-avoided deforestation, forest restoration, and afforestation-provide the greatest climate value, because carbon storage and biophysics align to cool the Earth. In contrast, the climate benefits of carbon storage are often counteracted in boreal and other snow-covered regions, where darker trees trap more heat than snow does. Managers can increase the climate benefit of some forest projects by using more reflective and deciduous species and through urban forestry projects that reduce energy use. Ignoring biophysical interactions could result in millions of dollars being invested in some mitigation projects that provide little climate benefit or, worse, are counter-productive.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: © 2008 IOP Publishing Ltd
ID number or DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/3/4/044006
Keywords: Afforestation; Albedo; amazon deforestation; avoided deforestation; Biophysics; carbon; carbon sequestration; climate change; climate policy; feedbacks; Fire; forest restoration; Global warming; Impact; landscape; land-surface change; Mitigation; regional climate; sequestration; temperate and boreal forests; tropical
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > Biological Sciences
Research Centers > Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2015 18:26
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/577

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