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Wang, Shaojian, Liu, Xiaoping, Wu, Peijun, Feng, Kuishuang, Hubacek, Klaus, Li, Xia and Sun, Laixiang (2019) 'Impacts of Urban Expansion on Terrestrial Carbon Storage in China.' Environmental Science and Technology, 53 (12). pp. 6834-6844.

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Urban expansion is one of the main factors driving terrestrial carbon storage (TCS) changes. Accurate accounting of TCS and rigorous quantification of its changes caused by historical urban expansion may help us to better predict its changes in the future. This study focuses on the carbon impacts of urbanization in China where the share of the urban population has increased from 18% in 1978 to 59% in 2017 and the growing will continue in the coming decades. Our results show that China’s TCS decreased at an accelerating pace over the past three decades with an average reduction of 0.72TgC/y in 1980-1990 and 8.72TgC/y in 2000-2010, mostly due to conversion from cropland and woodland to urban land. Through simulating urban expansion under four scenarios from 2010 to 2050, we found a potential increasing trend in land conversion from woodland to urban land. This conversion trend would result in carbon storage loss at an average rate of 9.31TgC/y~12.94TgC/y in 2010-2050. The increasing trend in both land conversion and carbon storage loss is especially visible in the population centers of the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta. Considering that the indirect emission effects of urbanization, such as farmland displacement, population migration, and land degradation, may be much larger, the overall emission impact of forthcoming urban expansion in China would increase the uncertainty of the nation’s carbon emissions and potentially undermine China’s targets as committed in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Urban expansion; Terrestrial carbon storage; Development scenarios; InVEST model; FLUS model; Urban agglomerations
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Finance & Management
ISSN: 0013936X
Copyright Statement: Copyright © 2019 American Chemical Society. This is the version of the article accepted for publication in Environmental Science and Technology published by American Chemical Society
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 May 2019 07:29
Related URLs: ... acs.est.9b00103 (Publisher URL)
Funders: Other

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