CO Emissions from Land Use Sectors

Emission of CO2 from land-use sectors result from changes such as tropical deforestation and conversion of grasslands to cropland, degradation of forests and grasslands, biomass decay and burning. Net cumulative global CO2 emissions from land-use change during 1850-1998 are estimated at 136 ± 55 GtC; out of this, 87% emissions are from forest areas (Bolin and Sukumar 2000), attributed largely to tropical deforestation. Compared to annual average emissions of 0.9 GtC during 1850-1998, those from land-use change increased to 1.6 GtC (0.5-2.7 GtC) during the 1990s (Table 2.1). Over the last few decades, CO2 emissions have increased: from approximately 0.74 GtC in 1960, the level went up to about 1.6 GtC in 2005, indicating continuous growth in CO2 emissions from land-use sectors (Fig. 2.3).

The main source of CO2 emissions from land-use sectors is tropical deforestation: forest area declined annually by 8.8 Mha during the 1990s; however, according to the latest FAO assessment, the rate came down to 7.9 Mha during 2000-2005, a 10% reduction over that in the 1990s (Table 2.3). Africa and South America dominate, with each accounting for about 4 Mha during those 5 years. According to FAO (2006), ten countries with the largest net annual loss in forest area during 2000-2005 were

• South America: Brazil (3.01 Mha), Venezuela (0.28 Mha)

• Africa: Sudan (0.59 Mha), Zambia (0.44 Mha), Tanzania (0.41 Mha), Nigeria (0.41 Mha), DR Congo (0.32 Mha) and Zimbabwe (0.31 Mha)

The area under forests in Asia and Europe has increased: among the countries with the largest annual net gain in forest area, China topped the list with 4.05 Mha (FAO 2006).

Fig. 2.3 CG2 emissions from tropical land-use change org/budget.htm)

during 1960-2005 (www.globalcarbonproject.

Fig. 2.3 CG2 emissions from tropical land-use change org/budget.htm)

during 1960-2005 (www.globalcarbonproject.

Table 2.3 Changes in forest area, by region (FAO 2006)

Annual forest area Forest area (1,000 ha) change (1,000 ha)

Table 2.3 Changes in forest area, by region (FAO 2006)

Annual forest area Forest area (1,000 ha) change (1,000 ha)

Region

1990

2000

2005

1990-2000

2000-2005

Africa

699.36

655.61

635.41

-4.37

-4.04

Asia

574.49

566.57

571.58

-0.79

1.00

Europe

989.32

998.09

1,001.39

0.87

0.66

North and Central

710.79

707.51

705.85

-0.32

-0.33

America

Oceania

212.51

208.04

206.25

-0.44

-0.35

South America

890.82

852.79

831.54

-3.80

-4.25

World

4,077.29

3,988.61

3,952.02

-8.86

-7.31

Future trends in carbon emissions and removals by forests are difficult to predict. Available evidence indicates that for several decades: (i) deforestation in the tropics will continue to be a major source of carbon emissions (Canadell et al. 2004);

(ii) carbon sink in countries with economies in transition may decrease as forests mature and may become a source if the growing economies cause increased logging;

(iii) carbon stocks in forests of many developed countries will continue to grow, unless they choose to rely more on their forests to meet the demand for timber and land; and (iv) aggressive reforestation programmes in previously deforested countries can produce new carbon sinks (IPCC 2007c).

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