Public Lecture

Climate Consequences of Land Management

University of Munich (LMU), Germany
September 18, 2019

Three quarters of ice-free land surface is managed for human use — cleared for agriculture, grazed on, or used for forestry. This land use has accounted for one third of historical anthropogenic CO2 emissions globally, but it also affects climate locally by changing water and energy fluxes. Depending on type of land use change and where it takes place, the effect may be a warming or a cooling contribution to overall global climate. Whether land use change has a warming or cooling contribution to global climate change is crucially important. An improved understanding of the interplay between land use and climate can transform our thinking about how land management can serve as a mitigation strategy to curb climate change. In particular, land use choices such as afforestation, bioenergy production, and other options will likely play a prominent role in preventing the global climate from surpassing the 2-degree target of warming. This talk will illustrate different perspectives on past and future land use, considering impacts of both carbon and biogeophysical variables at local and global scales.