Carbon uptake by European agricultural land is variable, and in many regions could be increased: Evidence from remote sensing, yield statistics and models of potential productivity

Mathias Neumann, Pete Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Agricultural plants, covering large parts of the global land surface and important for the livelihoods of people worldwide, fix carbon dioxide seasonally via photosynthesis. The carbon allocation of crops, however, remains relatively understudied compared to, for example, forests. For comprehensive consistent resource assessments or climate change impact studies large-scale reliable vegetation information is needed. Here, we demonstrate how robust data on carbon uptake in croplands can be obtained by combining multiple sources to enhance the reliability of estimates. Using yield statistics, a remote-sensing based productivity algorithm and climate-sensitive potential productivity, we mapped the potential to increase crop productivity and compared consistent carbon uptake information of agricultural land with forests. The productivity gap in Europe is higher in Eastern and Southern than in Central-Western countries. At continental scale, European agriculture shows a greater carbon uptake in harvestable compartments than forests (agriculture 1.96 vs. forests 1.76 t C ha-1 year-1). Mapping productivity gaps allows efforts to enhance crop production to be prioritized by, for example, improved crop cultivars, nutrient management or pest control. The concepts and methods for quantifying carbon uptake used in this study are applicable worldwide and allow forests and agriculture to be included in future carbon uptake assessments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)902-911
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume643
Early online date28 Jun 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Fingerprint

Remote sensing
Carbon
agricultural land
Productivity
Statistics
remote sensing
productivity
Crops
carbon
Agriculture
agriculture
crop
Pest control
resource assessment
biomass allocation
pest control
crop production
Photosynthesis
land surface
cultivar

Keywords

  • crops
  • biomass
  • bioeconomy
  • yield gap
  • harvest
  • EUROSTAT
  • Net Primary Production
  • carbon sequestration

Cite this

@article{c0d65ce3a7ce47b9b285c09efe0d2342,
title = "Carbon uptake by European agricultural land is variable, and in many regions could be increased: Evidence from remote sensing, yield statistics and models of potential productivity",
abstract = "Agricultural plants, covering large parts of the global land surface and important for the livelihoods of people worldwide, fix carbon dioxide seasonally via photosynthesis. The carbon allocation of crops, however, remains relatively understudied compared to, for example, forests. For comprehensive consistent resource assessments or climate change impact studies large-scale reliable vegetation information is needed. Here, we demonstrate how robust data on carbon uptake in croplands can be obtained by combining multiple sources to enhance the reliability of estimates. Using yield statistics, a remote-sensing based productivity algorithm and climate-sensitive potential productivity, we mapped the potential to increase crop productivity and compared consistent carbon uptake information of agricultural land with forests. The productivity gap in Europe is higher in Eastern and Southern than in Central-Western countries. At continental scale, European agriculture shows a greater carbon uptake in harvestable compartments than forests (agriculture 1.96 vs. forests 1.76 t C ha-1 year-1). Mapping productivity gaps allows efforts to enhance crop production to be prioritized by, for example, improved crop cultivars, nutrient management or pest control. The concepts and methods for quantifying carbon uptake used in this study are applicable worldwide and allow forests and agriculture to be included in future carbon uptake assessments.",
keywords = "crops, biomass, bioeconomy, yield gap, harvest, EUROSTAT, Net Primary Production, carbon sequestration",
author = "Mathias Neumann and Pete Smith",
note = "We acknowledge the free data access provided by EUROSTAT http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat, and by EarthStat http://www.earthstat.org/data-download/. For their roles in producing, coordinating, and making available the ISIMIP model output, we acknowledge the following modeling groups (GEPIC: Christian Folberth, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria; LPJmL: Christoph M{\"u}ller, Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany; PEPIC: Wenfeng Liu, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Switzerland) and the ISIMIP cross sectoral science team. The input of P.S. contributes to the EU H2020-funded project 776810 “VERIFY”.",
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AU - Neumann, Mathias

AU - Smith, Pete

N1 - We acknowledge the free data access provided by EUROSTAT http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat, and by EarthStat http://www.earthstat.org/data-download/. For their roles in producing, coordinating, and making available the ISIMIP model output, we acknowledge the following modeling groups (GEPIC: Christian Folberth, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria; LPJmL: Christoph Müller, Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany; PEPIC: Wenfeng Liu, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Switzerland) and the ISIMIP cross sectoral science team. The input of P.S. contributes to the EU H2020-funded project 776810 “VERIFY”.

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N2 - Agricultural plants, covering large parts of the global land surface and important for the livelihoods of people worldwide, fix carbon dioxide seasonally via photosynthesis. The carbon allocation of crops, however, remains relatively understudied compared to, for example, forests. For comprehensive consistent resource assessments or climate change impact studies large-scale reliable vegetation information is needed. Here, we demonstrate how robust data on carbon uptake in croplands can be obtained by combining multiple sources to enhance the reliability of estimates. Using yield statistics, a remote-sensing based productivity algorithm and climate-sensitive potential productivity, we mapped the potential to increase crop productivity and compared consistent carbon uptake information of agricultural land with forests. The productivity gap in Europe is higher in Eastern and Southern than in Central-Western countries. At continental scale, European agriculture shows a greater carbon uptake in harvestable compartments than forests (agriculture 1.96 vs. forests 1.76 t C ha-1 year-1). Mapping productivity gaps allows efforts to enhance crop production to be prioritized by, for example, improved crop cultivars, nutrient management or pest control. The concepts and methods for quantifying carbon uptake used in this study are applicable worldwide and allow forests and agriculture to be included in future carbon uptake assessments.

AB - Agricultural plants, covering large parts of the global land surface and important for the livelihoods of people worldwide, fix carbon dioxide seasonally via photosynthesis. The carbon allocation of crops, however, remains relatively understudied compared to, for example, forests. For comprehensive consistent resource assessments or climate change impact studies large-scale reliable vegetation information is needed. Here, we demonstrate how robust data on carbon uptake in croplands can be obtained by combining multiple sources to enhance the reliability of estimates. Using yield statistics, a remote-sensing based productivity algorithm and climate-sensitive potential productivity, we mapped the potential to increase crop productivity and compared consistent carbon uptake information of agricultural land with forests. The productivity gap in Europe is higher in Eastern and Southern than in Central-Western countries. At continental scale, European agriculture shows a greater carbon uptake in harvestable compartments than forests (agriculture 1.96 vs. forests 1.76 t C ha-1 year-1). Mapping productivity gaps allows efforts to enhance crop production to be prioritized by, for example, improved crop cultivars, nutrient management or pest control. The concepts and methods for quantifying carbon uptake used in this study are applicable worldwide and allow forests and agriculture to be included in future carbon uptake assessments.

KW - crops

KW - biomass

KW - bioeconomy

KW - yield gap

KW - harvest

KW - EUROSTAT

KW - Net Primary Production

KW - carbon sequestration

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JO - Science of the Total Environment

JF - Science of the Total Environment

SN - 0048-9697

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