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The Influence of Land-Use Change and Landscape Dynamics on the Climate System: Relevance to Climate-Change Policy Beyond the Radiative Effect of Greenhouse Gases

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Although there is much focus from a policy standpoint on the climate impact of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions, less attention is given to the effects of human-caused land-use change, even though a growing body of research suggests that the latter may have a greater warming potential than the former. For example, one major warming impact that is not yet readily quantifiable is the surface heat fluxes that come as a result of changes in vegetation cover. As this article explains, impacts resulting from land-use change must be better quantified in order that they can be successfully incorporated into policies and international treaties.

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