Quantifying the effectiveness of climate change mitigation through forest plantations and carbon sequestration with an integrated land-use model
© van Minnen et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2008
Received: 20 December 2007
Accepted: 15 April 2008
Published: 15 April 2008
Carbon plantations are introduced in climate change policy as an option to slow the build-up of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations. Here we present a methodology to evaluate the potential effectiveness of carbon plantations. The methodology explicitly considers future long-term land-use change around the world and all relevant carbon (C) fluxes, including all natural fluxes. Both issues have generally been ignored in earlier studies.
Two different baseline scenarios up to 2100 indicate that uncertainties in future land-use change lead to a near 100% difference in estimates of carbon sequestration potentials. Moreover, social, economic and institutional barriers preventing carbon plantations in natural vegetation areas decrease the physical potential by 75–80% or more.
Nevertheless, carbon plantations can still considerably contribute to slowing the increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration but only in the long term. The most conservative set of assumptions lowers the increase of the atmospheric CO2 concentration in 2100 by a 27 ppm and compensates for 5–7% of the total energy-related CO2 emissions. The net sequestration up to 2020 is limited, given the short-term increased need for agricultural land in most regions and the long period needed to compensate for emissions through the establishment of the plantations. The potential is highest in the tropics, despite projections that most of the agricultural expansion will be in these regions. Plantations in high latitudes as Northern Europe and Northern Russia should only be established if the objective to sequester carbon is combined with other activities.
Carbon sequestration in plantations can play an important role in mitigating the build-up of atmospheric CO2. The actual magnitude depends on natural and management factors, social barriers, and the time frame considered. In addition, there are a number of ancillary benefits for local communities and the environment. Carbon plantations are, however, particularly effective in the long term. Furthermore, plantations do not offer the ultimate solution towards stabilizing CO2 concentrations but should be part of a broader package of options with clear energy emission reduction measures.
Climate on earth is changing and this has led to a series of impacts on the environment and human society . This climate change is most likely caused by the increased greenhouse gas concentration with carbon dioxide (CO2) as the most important gas . The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in its mandate to limit future climate change and its impacts, aims to 'stabilize greenhouse gas (GHGs) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system' (Article 2 ). Many studies have compared emission reduction strategies to achieve different stabilization levels of CO2 and quantified their consequences (e.g. [4, 5]). Most of these studies concentrate on reducing energy-related CO2 emissions and ignore abatement options that enhance CO2 uptake (or increase C sinks) by the biosphere. Such uptake also slows down the concentration increase.
The Kyoto Protocol, drafted in 1997 and entered into force in 2005, includes quantitative targets for industrial countries (the so-called "Annex B") to limit the emissions of six GHGs (CO2, CH4, N2O, and three fluorinated gases) by the 2008–2012 period. In addition to reducing emissions from fossil fuel burning, the Kyoto Protocol provides explicit opportunities for Annex B countries to partly achieve their reduction commitments by planting new forests, or by managing existing forests or agricultural land differently (so-called Land-Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry measures: LULUCF). The presumption of these LULUCF options is that removing CO2 from the atmosphere can also contribute to the stabilization of the atmospheric CO2 concentration and thus to a limitation of climate change. After the Kyoto Protocol was signed, a number of technical issues regarding the use of carbon plantations in achieving the country commitments remained open. For example, it has been unclear how to quantify the LULUCF potential, both in the short and the long terms. Furthermore, criticism on establishing new forests (so-called carbon plantations) as a mitigation strategy were related to the permanency of sequestration and whether the sequestration is additional to default developments (e.g. ). Permanency is uncertain, since the pressure on land for other purposes than carbon plantations may increase considerably in the near future along with shifts in disturbance regimes. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), for example, projects considerable increases in arable land needed for food production , whereas land requirements for modern biofuels are increasing considerably as well . Furthermore, the Kyoto Protocol clearly states that activities should not be in conflict with existing conventions, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity. Thus land-use changes that drive losses in biodiversity should be prevented .
The Kyoto Protocol has resulted in several studies estimating the sequestration potential in plantations. The IPCC's special report on Land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), for example, suggests that there is a potential to sequester an additional 87 Pg C by 2050 in global forests alone . Other studies even suggest that land-based mitigation could be cost-effective compared to energy-related mitigation options, and could provide a large proportion of the total mitigation [11, 12]. However, it is often difficult to compare the results of these studies because they differ in terms and definitions and methods used. Furthermore, studies determine the sequestration potential in specific regions or specific land-cover types (e.g. [13–15]). Finally, there are studies that incorporate crude assumptions for future land-use change. For example, Sathaye et al.  based their projections of C sinks on linear extrapolation of continuing deforestation and afforestation rates, whereas Sohngen & Sedjo  only considered an increase in forest product demand, discarding future food demand.
The main objective of this paper is to present a methodology that quantifies the possible role of C plantations around the world in mitigating the build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere at different cost levels and assumptions; it also takes into account the aforementioned limitations and concerns. We specifically address the issue of net carbon sequestration, including the continued carbon sequestration of the original natural vegetation. Moreover, we only consider the carbon sequestration potential in regions that are not used for other ecosystem services (like food supply), and include future land-use change. In this study we use the methodology as being implemented in the IMAGE-2 model (Integrated Model to Assess the Global Environment ) to show the long-term potential in eighteen different world regions.
We present the global and regional distribution and C uptake potential of plantations for the different experiments and scenarios up to 2100 (see methodology section for detailed definitions of the different potentials). First, the physical potential is given (Experiments 1, 2 and 3), which is the potential based on local physical, ecological and environmental conditions. Second, the physical potential is translated into a social potential by taking interference with food and wood availability and nature conservation as main limitations (Experiments 4, 5 and 6). This is a general attempt to simulate societal barriers to the establishment of plantations that can also include other, such as, for example, institutional factors. These factors differ between regions, and hence the uncertainty within our projected "social potential" may be larger than that within the physical potential. The final step 3 (= economic potential, including also land and establishment costs) is described in detail in Strengers et al , including the sequestration potential. The experiments differ with respect to the used management of the carbon plantations and baseline scenarios used. The latter refer to the IPCC SRES A1b and B2 baseline scenarios  (see section on Model application for differences between these scenarios). Regarding management, the carbon plantations are either harvested at regular intervals or not harvested at all (called permanent carbon plantation). These management options can have a considerable effect on the uptake potential of plantations (see methodology section).
Experiments 1, 2 and 3: Physical potential of carbon plantations
Physical potential distribution of carbon plantations (in Mha).
River red gum
The two management options show a higher C sequestration potential in the case of harvested carbon plantations, especially beyond 2050 (Figure 2). This is caused by a decreasing sequestration rate for permanent carbon plantations, whereas the uptake potential remains high if a carbon plantation is frequently harvested harvests. This difference is induced by the C sequestration of plantations decreasing with age. The average age increases in permanent plantations but remains low in the frequent harvest case. This difference is projected specifically for plantations in Latin America and Africa.
Geographically speaking, the highest physical sequestration rates have been projected for plantations in tropical regions like South America and Africa, dominated by the two Eucalyptus plantation types (Figure 2). The projected sequestration potential is relatively low in high latitudes, because of low growth rates. In various parts of Canada and Russia, the net cumulative carbon sequestration even remains negative for about 50 years.
Experiments 4, 5 and 6: Social potential of carbon plantations
Social potential distribution of carbon plantations with establishment on abandoned agricultural land only (in Mha).
River red gum
Implications of establishing carbon plantations on abandoned agricultural land.
Baseline atmos. CO2 concentration (ppm)
Change in CO2 concentration, compared to baseline (ppm)
Cumulative social C sequestration potential in C plantations on abandoned agricultural land only (Pg C)
Geographically speaking, most plantations are projected for establishment in tropical regions (Figure 1 and Table 2). The consequences for the C sequestration are that under the A1b baseline scenario, 40–50% of the global potential can be sequestered in plantations in Africa, 10–20%, in China, 10% in Latin America, and 10% in Oceania (Table 3). Although a considerable amount of abandoned agricultural land is projected for Europe, Canada and the FSU as well, the effectiveness of establishing C plantations here is projected as being rather limited. For example, 6% of the global potential area can be established in the FSU up to 2100, sequestering only 4% of the global potential.
With respect to the social potential, evaluating the effectiveness of carbon plantations in slowing down the build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere shows that the concentration in 2100 under the A1b scenario can be reduced from 752 to 713 ppm (i.e. a 39 ppm reduction) when planting permanent carbon plantations, whereas it reaches 700 ppm (i.e. a 52 ppm reduction) assuming frequently harvested plantations (Table 3). The two management options differ because of the broader distribution of carbon plantations when planting frequently harvested plantations and because of the additional C that will be stored in the soil compartment. The lower social sequestration potential projected under the B2 baseline scenario results, obviously, in a lower effectiveness. Assuming frequently harvested carbon plantations, we project a CO2 concentration of 579 ppm in 2100, which is 27 ppm less than in the baseline.
The carbon sequestration potential in comparison with other studies
Here we have presented a methodology to assess the global and regional sequestering potential of carbon plantations established after 2000. Based on ecological and environmental constraints alone, carbon plantations can be effective in large parts of the world with a projected cumulative sequestering potential of 913 Pg C up to 2100. In the A1b baseline scenario this equals 52% of the total cumulative CO2 emissions from energy and industry from 2000 to 2100. In the B2 scenarios it is even 67%. The social sequestration potential is much lower but still considerable. The annual average global potential is projected at 0.1 – 0.2 Pg C yr-1 up to 2050, and 0.68–1.3 Pg C yr-1 up to 2100 (Table 3). In 2100 this leads to a 27–52 ppm smaller increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration and compensates for 5–7% of the total energy and industry related CO2 emissions. The sequestration potential is likely to considerably increase beyond 2100, because many plantations are projected to be established only close to the end of the 21st century. This holds especially for regions where large areas of arable land are expected to be abandoned towards 2100, such as China.
Comparison of existing C sequestration projections.
Total C sequestration (Pg C yr-1)
Areal C sequestration (Mg C ha-1yr-1)
This study (social potential)
0.12 – 0.17 0.68 – 1.33
0.9 – 1.3 0.8 – 1.3
Considering sequestration on abandoned agricultural land only
0.2 – 1
Conservative potential for 50-year period
Large variation due to different assumptions on yields
Only in degraded land soils. Total potential is 30–60 Pg C.
Regional studies (Compared to Table 3)
Europe, a 100-year period
Average sequestration of tropical forests during an 80-year period
Only above-ground sequestration. soil decomposition fluxes excluded
USA (many studies summarized)
EU15. only soils Wider Europe (excl. Russia). only soils
European forests during 2008–2012
Sink of all boreal and temperate forests
All European forests
All Russian forests
All Canadian forests
All US forests
Despite the estimated considerable C sequestration potential up to 2100, the uptake potential for the coming decades is projected to be limited (Figure 3). It can take about 20 years to compensate for the emissions related to the establishment of the plantations. Moreover, not much agricultural land will likely be abandoned in coming decades due to the current and projected agricultural pressure. The limited potential in coming decades is in line with findings of Marland & Schlamadinger , who showed that the sequestration potential in forests established since 1990 is mainly relevant in the long term. As such, we do not confirm the suggestion of Kirschbaum  that plantations may help to buy some time in initiating emission reductions already in the next few decades.
The limited role of plantations in the coming decades might be caused by our assumptions that C plantations can only be established after 2000. Various other studies report afforestation activities in different locations around the world, even before 2000. Brown  and FAO , for example, reported that globally 124 Mha and 187 Mha forest plantations have been established up to 1995 and 2000, respectively. More than 90% of these plantations have been established in 30 countries only, mainly in such Asian countries as China (45 Mha), India (32 Mha), and Japan (11 Mha). Furthermore, various studies report existing afforestation activities, but seldom account for deforestation in the same region (the so-called leakage effect). This has also been shown by others (e.g. ) by estimating an annual afforestation rate in the tropics of 2.6 Mha yr-1 throughout the 1980s, but at the same time a deforestation rate of 15.4 Ma yr-1. In our methodology, leakage is not possible because we only establish plantations on land that is available for the entire simulation period (i.e. up to 2100). Finally, our projections are lower than in other studies that account for the C sequestration in forests planted for various other reasons (e.g. recreation, agroforestry and soil restoration). For India, for example, we have project a negligible afforestation potential up to 2030 because of the large pressure on the land for food production. Nevertheless, Ravindranath & Somashekhar  reported an afforestation rate of India of 1.6 Mha yr-1, mainly for agroforestry purposes. Again, these afforestation rates are partly counterbalanced by deforestation activities in India [30, 31].
The methodology in relation to conventions and protocols
The methodology presented is aimed at quantifying the sequestration potential of carbon plantations around the world, in consideration of the requirements mentioned in different conventions and protocols. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change  and its underlying Kyoto Protocol, which opened the possibility for developed countries to use afforestation programs in achieving their reduction commitments, clearly stress that C plantations are only effective in the long term if (see also [10, 32, 33]):
they are additional to a baseline;
all C fluxes are considered (i.e. full C accounting);
they are permanent. If not, a carbon plantation has little value in terms of actually reducing the concentration of GHG in the atmosphere, since carbon sequestered over various years will return to the atmosphere;
the credited C sequestration in one region is not to be compensated by C losses elsewhere (i.e. no leakage),
the C sequestration in plantations exclude 'indirect human influences' in terms of, for example, climate and CO2 change.
The additionality issue has been taken into account in the methodology presented by considering the sequestration potential of both plantations and natural ecosystems. Furthermore, the methodology considers all C fluxes by keeping track of fluxes in both vegetation and soil, plus the carbon losses due to the establishment of the plantations. The permanency concern is taken into account by comparing the C plantation option with various other land-use options. Alternative land-use options pose a main threat to the permanency of a carbon plantation, especially in the long term (e.g. when the demand for agricultural land fluctuates or prices of land-use products change). Since permanency is more certain if plantations are established in areas that are not used for food, fodder and timber production, areas needed for agriculture or wood up to 2100 have been excluded in the all experiments. As mentioned earlier, leakage is not possible in the methodology presented because we only establish plantations on land available for the entire simulation period (i.e. up to 2100). Finally, the methodology accounts only for carbon sequestered directly by the plantations, corrected for climate change and CO2 fertilization (i.e. indirect human influences). This has been done both for the historical uptake – where we corrected 1995 growth rates for observed changes in CO2 and climate (see Equation 2) – as well as the projected future (reducing the projected social potential in the supply curves for climate and CO2 changes in the baseline).
The effectiveness of carbon plantations in a broader environmental context
The effectiveness of harvesting plantations and using the biomass to displace fossil fuels and/or timber, compared to having carbon stored in a permanent plantation, depends to a great extent on the displacement factor (i.e. the extent to which wood from carbon plantations can be effectively used to replace fossil fuels) . Here, a displacement factor of 'one' is assumed. Theoretically this can be achieved if fossil fuels are displaced by harvested wood [22, 36]. However, if the displacement factor is (much) smaller than 'one', the environmental effectiveness of harvested plantations decreases sharply. Likewise, establishing carbon plantations is, in general, less effective than avoiding deforestation (especially in tropical regions, [37, 16]). This, however, is associated with various social difficulties and avoiding deforestation in one region may be counterbalanced by additional deforestation elsewhere.
The effectiveness of carbon plantations in especially high latitudes is questioned because of the effect on different biophysical processes (i.e. changed radiation balance) that may counterbalance the additional C sequestration [38–40]. On the basis of the albedo effect and the projected low net sequestration potential for high latitudinal plantations (i.e. in parts of Canada and Russia the net C sequestration even remains negative for about 50 years), the establishment of carbon plantations in high latitudes is only favorable if the objective to sequester carbon is combined with other environmental considerations. For example, plantations may also contribute to water protection and soil erosion control [21, 41].
An environmental constraint often mentioned for large-scale C plantations is the availability of water and nitrogen [41–43]. Also in the methodology presented, the high growth rates of the carbon plantations (compared to natural forests) rely on a high level of management, including nitrogen fertilization for plantations situated on poor or degraded soils. The additional use of water and fertilizer should indeed be a concern in the planning and management of the plantation, especially because a (higher) fertilizer use could imply additional emissions of N2O, which were neither accounted for in our study, nor in most other studies. Likewise, afforestation activities have recently also been questioned in the context of possible additional methane emissions from trees – the second-most important greenhouse gas . Although this issue is currently still under scientific debate, the effectiveness of afforestation programs would be reduced by a maximum of 10%. This has been confirmed by others (see, for example,  for a more detailed discussion).
We have presented a rule-based methodology to quantify the long-term physical and social sequestration potential of carbon plantations up to the end of the 21st century and their effectiveness in slowing down the increase in atmospheric CO2. Applying the methodology, we conclude that projected potentials differ considerably for different experiments, regions and management options. For example, we projected a nearly 100% difference in the sequestration potential up to 2100 between two baseline scenarios, showing the effect of uncertainties in future land use. Nevertheless, in all cases the C sequestration potential can be substantial. Even under a conservative set of assumptions, the cumulative sequestration potential up to 2100 compensates for 5–7% of the total energy and industry related CO2 emissions. But the sequestration potential is substantial only in the long term. The potential for the coming decades is limited due to the limited amount of available land and the long period needed to compensate for emissions related to the establishment of the plantations. Geographically speaking, plantations in tropical regions are most effective. The C sequestration potential of plantations in high latitudes is low and because of biophysical feedbacks on the climate system its effectiveness can even be questioned. The establishment of plantations in these regions is only favorable if the objective to sequester carbon is combined with other environmental considerations.
Finally, our analysis showed that C sequestration in plantations may be substantial and thus can help to slow down the future increase in atmospheric CO2. But C plantations do not represent the ultimate solution to the problem of establishing a stabilization of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. They should form part of a broader package of options, with clear measures for also reducing energy emissions.
Step 1: The physical sequestration potential
The climatic characteristics of the selected tree species for carbon plantations.
River red gum
Tropical deciduous trees
0.45 to 0.8
Tropical evergreen trees
0.8 to 1.0
Temperate evergreen trees
0.55 to 0.95
Temperate deciduous trees
-15 to 15.5
0.65 to 1.0
Boreal evergreen trees
-35 to -2
0.75 to 1.0
Boreal deciduous trees
0.65 to 1.0
The carbon characteristics of the selected tree species for carbon plantations.
Corresponding land cover types
Yield (m3/ha yr)
WD3 (Mg DM/m3)
FNPPCP (Mg C/ha yr)
CF95ts (Eq. 2)
Trop. deciduous forest
Trop. evergreen forest
Warm mixed forest
Temp. deciduous forest
Cool mixed forest
NPPCP ts (t) = RF(t)·FNPPlct(ts)(t)·AGF ts (1)
ts Index for tree species in a carbon plantation (1,..,6)
lct(ts) Land cover type by which the carbon dynamics of tree species (ts) are described (Table 1)
RF(t) Reduction Factor (≤1) during the period towards maximum average growth in terms of NPP, i.e. the recovery time (-) (Table 1)
FNPPlct(ts)(t) NPP of full-grown natural vegetation in year t if the grid cell were to be covered by land-cover type lct(ts), as computed by the IMAGE 2 C cycle model (Mg C ha-1 yr-1)
FNPPCP,ts Average NPP of full grown plantations (Mg C ha-1 yr-1) around 1995 (Eq. 3)
NPPIlct(ts) Average NPP of all grid cells in 1970 covered by land-cover type lct(ts) (Mg C ha-1 yr-1) 
CF95ts Correction Factor for climate-induced growth stimulants for 1970–1995 (-).
AS Allocation Fraction of Stems (= 0.3)
LS Lifetime of stems, based on the underlying land-cover types lct(ts) (yr)
AB Allocation Fraction of Branches (= 0.2)
LB Lifetime of branches, based on the underlying land-cover types lct(ts) (yr)
Comparison of plantation growth rates around the world (m3 ha-1 yr-1).
16–30 (rest of world)
WD Wood density (Mg dry matter.m-3 fresh volume; see Table 1)
HI Average harvest index or the fraction of above-ground biomass used (Table 1) of which the remainder decomposes to humus (-)
CF Average carbon factor or carbon content (Mg C m-3 dry matter)
Recov Recovery time or the average time for a carbon plantation to reach maturity in terms of NPP (yr) (Table 6).
CSeq Net carbon sequestration in a grid cell in the period t0 through 2100 (Mg C ha-1)
t Year (between 2000 and 2100)
t0 Starting year of carbon plantations in a grid cell
NEPCP(t) Net Ecosystem Productivity of best growing tree species in a grid cell (Mg C ha-1 yr-1)
NEP(t) NEP of the original vegetation according to the baseline scenario (Mg C ha-1 yr-1)
E C content of natural vegetation before the conversion into a carbon plantation (Mg C ha-1)
b Burn factor of the initial harvest [either 0 or 1] (-)
The variables E and b account for carbon emissions related to the establishment of a carbon plantation. For plantations established on abandoned agricultural land, grassland or forest land just being logged, there is no clearing needed and 'b' is close to zero. When, however, an existing natural forest or woodland is converted into a carbon plantation, the original vegetation is assumed to be burnt entirely (i.e. b = 1), resulting in instantaneous emissions of carbon into the atmosphere. These emissions must first be compensated before a plantation is effective in mitigating the CO2 build-up in the atmosphere.
Since management can have a considerable effect on the carbon uptake potential of plantations [53, 54], we included two possible harvest regimes. Either plantations are harvested at regular intervals or no harvest takes place at all. In the latter case, a plantation will grow to a stable level of carbon storage and a low additional C sequestration further in time in the soil. In the former case, a plantation is harvested at the moment of maximum C sequestration, (i.e. the NEP of a plantation averaged over the stand age starts to decrease), followed by re-growth. In our assessment the harvested wood from stems and branches is used to fulfill the wood demand. Leaves, roots and the non-harvested stems and branches enter the litter and humus carbon pools in the soil. The approach of displacing wood demand amounts to a displacement factor of 1 (assuming no leakage, i.e. no change in the wood sector).
In the case of the establishment of a C plantation on slash and burnt natural ecosystems (Figure 5), large quantities of carbon are emitted instantaneously (i.e. E will be large). Afterwards, CSeq(t) in year t equals NEP CP (t), assuming no CO2 fertilization and other climate feedbacks (as such, the NEP of the natural vegetation is about 0). However, the year that a plantation starts to actually sequester carbon is postponed because the initial emissions have to be compensated (about 23 years for the example in Figure 5).
Step 2: The social sequestration potential
The social potential of the afforestation activities is estimated in two stages. Firstly, we establish plantations around the world using certain restrictions based on social acceptance. This is accomplished by using a particular definition of social importance: Considering only those areas that are neither needed for food and wood supply nor are covered by natural ecosystems (because of their importance for nature conservation). Establishing plantations on abandoned agricultural land is the only possibility. This leads to uptake potentials per grid cell (geographical explicit). Secondly, supply curves have been constructed for each IMAGE-2 region, summing-up the gridded sequestration potentials for all grid cells within that region where the average carbon sequestration, corrected for climate change and CO2 fertilization effects, is positive in a year 'z' (Figure 5, ). Since it is unknown when a certain potential is actually used in a mitigation effort, and to allow for comparison with other greenhouse gas mitigation options, the carbon sequestration is averaged over a predefined period of time (CSeqsup(t)). Thus each point in a supply curve represents the regional sum of the average annual carbon sequestration potential of a grid cell assigned to a time interval [t s , t t ], starting with the most productive grid cells (i.e. cells with highest sequestration rate per hectare), ending with ineffective grid cells.
Step 3: The economic sequestration potential
The social C sequestration potential is used to determine the economic potential by linking it to costs (see  for details). This results in Marginal Abatement Curves (MACs) or cost-supply curves dependent on geographical-explicit environmental circumstances and possible future changes in land use. In general, the most important cost factor in producing or conserving carbon sinks is land . In addition, we also consider establishment costs. Other types of costs are excluded because they are either low (e.g. maintenance costs), compensated by revenues from timber, or difficult to quantify . Land costs are based on GTAP data  for land values of agricultural land around the world. Establishment costs, set at 435 US$ (1995) per ha, are uniform in time and space. This assumption is supported by the survey of Sathaye et al. . The value of 435 US$ (1995) per ha is based on analyzing variations between the regions and the ranges within the regions.
The IMAGE 2 model
The methodology presented has been implemented in IMAGE 2 (Integrated Model to Assess the Global Environment [18, 58, 59]). This is a multi-disciplinary, integrated assessment model, designed to explore causes and effects of global environmental change. IMAGE 2 integrates different land-use demands like food, fodder, biofuels and C sequestration. IMAGE 2 is global in application and integrates regional socio-economic (i.e. eighteen regions) and geographically explicit grid dimensions (i.e. 0.50 longitude by 0.50 latitude). Each grid cell is characterized by its climate, soil and land cover (natural ecosystems or agriculture). Because of the dynamic land use, the geographic explicit modeling and the global perspective, IMAGE 2 is very suitable for the presented methodology.
Carbon plantations have been added as a separate land-cover class into the land-cover sub-model of IMAGE 2, whereas their carbon pools and fluxes are computed by the terrestrial C cycle sub-model [19, 49, 60]. The driving force of the C cycle sub-model is Net Primary Productivity (NPP), which is the photosynthetically fixed C in plants minus C losses due to plant respiration. NPP in IMAGE 2 is a function of atmospheric CO2 concentration, climate, soil nutrient and moisture status, biome type and the successional stage of a biome. NPP determines the Net Ecosystem Productivity (NEP) in an area, together with the heterotrophic soil respiration. NEP represents the net C flux between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems. Soil respiration depends on the C stocks in the different soil compartments (i.e. litter, humus and charcoal), their turnover rates and environmental conditions (i.e. soil water availability and temperature). All fluxes are calculated on a monthly basis, while the carbon pools are updated annually.
Model application and experimental design
Main global characteristics of the IPCC A1b and B2 baseline scenarios (derived from The IMAGE Team ).
(in 2000: 6.1)
(103 US $ yr-1)
(in 2000: 5.3)
Extent arable land
(in 2000: 48.5)
(in 2000: 375)
Air temperature change (°C) (in 2000: 0.6)
Overview of simulation experiments for the IPCC A1b or B2 baseline scenarios
List of abbreviations
Net Primary Production
Net Ecosystem Productivity.
The research was made possible by internal funding from MNP and WUR.
We would like to thank Michiel Schaeffer for his contribution and discussion to the development the plantation scenarios based on the SRES scenarios. We are also indebted to Ruth de Wijs for carefully checking and improving the English.
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