Land Use and Climate Change Interactions

Posted: 4 Jun 2010

See all articles by Robert O. Mendelsohn

Robert O. Mendelsohn

Yale University - School of Forestry & Environmental Studies; Yale University

Ariel Dinar

University of California, Riverside (UCR)

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Land use and land-use change can result in the emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change. Climate change also affects the productivity of land, which in turn leads to further land-use change. This paper explores the growing research on both topics. The land-use emission literature has focused on deforestation (harvests) and ignored the fact that harvests have led to a much younger and therefore growing global forest. Taking this into account, mankind’s current and future influence over land use will have a small positive effect on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Although the literature initially focused on climate impacts alone, when adaptation is taken into account we find that climate change is likely to have benign net global impacts on market sectors related to land use. Climate impacts on nonmarket sectors, however, are much more poorly understood or measured. Furthermore, it is not yet clear whether governments will adapt or maladapt to climate change.

Suggested Citation

Mendelsohn, Robert O. and Dinar, Ariel, Land Use and Climate Change Interactions. Annual Review of Resource Economics, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 309-332, 2009. Available at SSRN: or

Robert O. Mendelsohn (Contact Author)

Yale University - School of Forestry & Environmental Studies ( email )

195 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States
2034325128 (Phone)

Ariel Dinar

University of California, Riverside (UCR) ( email )

900 University Avenue
Riverside, CA 92521
United States

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