Feedbacks of Terrestrial Ecosystems to Climate Change

Posted: 7 Dec 2007

See all articles by Christopher Field

Christopher Field

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

David B. Lobell

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Halton A. Peters

Stanford University

Nona R. Chiariello

Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve

Abstract

Most modeling studies on terrestrial feedbacks to warming over the twenty-first century imply that the net feedbacks are negative, that changes in ecosystems, on the whole, resist warming, largely through ecosystem carbon storage. Although it is clear that potentially important mechanisms can lead to carbon storage, a number of less well-understood mechanisms, several of which are rarely or incompletely modeled, tend to diminish the negative feedbacks or lead to positive feedbacks. At high latitudes, negative feedbacks from forest expansion are likely to be largely or completely compensated by positive feedbacks from decreased albedo, increased carbon emissions from thawed permafrost, and increased wildfire. At low latitudes, negative feedbacks to warming will be decreased or eliminated, largely through direct human impacts. With modest warming, net feedbacks of terrestrial ecosystems to warming are likely to be negative in the tropics and positive at high latitudes. Larger amounts of warming will generally push the feedbacks toward the positive.

Keywords: land use, permafrost, biogeography, biogeochemistry, albedo

Suggested Citation

Field, Christopher and Lobell, David B. and Peters, Halton A. and Chiariello, Nona R., Feedbacks of Terrestrial Ecosystems to Climate Change. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Vol. 32, November 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1055241

Christopher Field (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

David B. Lobell

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory ( email )

P.O. Box 808
Livermore, CA 94551
United States

Halton A. Peters

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Nona R. Chiariello

Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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