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CQUEST Afforestation Predictions

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CQUEST Data Set Information Guides
Purpose of the CQUEST Data set Information Guides
For each of the data sets provided in the CQUEST application, the following Information Guides are offered to describe the nature of the data set, the (potential) uses of the data set for carbon management, links to companion data sets, plus references and credits for the data set.
CQUEST Background Statement
Prediction of North American Carbon Carbon management in forest and agricultural lands of the United States is the responsibility of several Federal agencies (including the U.S. Department of Agriculture – USDA and the Department of the Interior – DOI), which, along with the Department of the Energy (DOE), have numerous programs in place to collect monitoring data on carbon sequestration at local to national scales.
The NASA Ames CQUEST application supports these Federal agencies and their collaborators in efforts toward quantifying reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Important gaps in the national inventory of carbon sequestration can be addressed by data sets provided in the CQUEST application, each of which combine NASA remote sensing technology, ecosystem process modeling, and field-based measurements to characterize land management impacts on the carbon cycle.
There is an alternative to (the) inventory approach for estimating annual flows of carbon … Using models of the impacts of certain forestry practices on carbon flows into and out of forest carbon sinks. -- Source: General Guidelines for the Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program, 1994, Vol. II Foresty Sector
 
Baseline Carbon Model Predictions
Green plants remove (sequester) carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, extracting carbon dioxide from the air, and using the carbon to make biomass in the form of roots, stems, and foliage. -- Source: Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases, 2002, Report number DOE/EIA-0608.
Nature of the Data Set
"Baselines" comprise the reference case against which a change in GHG emissions or removals is measured. The NASA-CASA model predicts carbon storage in the major baseline pools of four different 'strata' in any terrestrial ecosystem. These strata are live leaf carbon, wood carbon of trees and shrubs, dead wood carbon, and surface mineral soil carbon. Baseline pool definitions in this CQUEST data set are as follows (all in units of g C m-2):
“Live Leaf Carbon” is carbon stored in live (green) leaf tissues at the end of an annual vegetation growing season.
“Potential Standing Wood Carbon” is carbon stored in standing (live) wood tissues. (Potential estimates are pending corrections for forest stand age)
“Dead Wood Litter Carbon” is carbon stored in dead wood litter pools at the soil surface.
Baseline Carbon Model Predictions
“Surface Mineral Soil Carbon” is carbon stored in mineral soil layers to a depth of approximately 30 cm. (Predicted surface soil carbon amounts do not include soil carbon pools measured in layers deeper than 30 cm., nor soil carbon that has a mean residence time greater than approximately 25 years in the mineral soil fraction).
Uses of the Data Set
In the preliminary stages of an emissions reduction project, a user generally needs to determine whether or not the planned project activities will result in a net reduction in GHG emissions and, if so, quantify the reduction rates over time. Reduction occurs either by avoiding emissions or by increasing net carbon sequestration in baseline soils and woody biomass pools. Reporting will involve the quantification of the carbon stocks and flows for a baseline year and for future scenario years over the project lifetime.
This CQUEST data set of ecosystem baseline pools for ecosystems of the U.S. can be used to define initial carbon stocks in a project area, even in cases as complex as a regional management programs. The data set enables stratification of the project area into baseline and future scenario contributions. Users can calculate the net carbon storage over years of the project lifetime by subtracting the scenario pool size from the baseline pool size for each major stratum of the ecosystem. Regional baselines can be estimated and used as a constraint on the baselines for smaller scale projects within the region. (Source: IPCC Special Report on Land Use, Land-Use Change And Forestry, 2000)
A newly established forest will take up carbon in trees at a low rate initially, then pass into a period of relatively rapid carbon capture. The uptake of carbon will then typically decline as growth is balanced against mortality in the older forest. Measures of carbon flows must account for these dynamic effects. -- Source: General Guidelines for the Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program, 1994, Vol. II Foresty Sector
Companion Data Sets

Vegetation/Ecosystem Modeling and Analysis Project (VEMAP), Phase 1 climate data sets

References for the Data Set
Potter, C. S. 1999. Terrestrial biomass and the effects of deforestation on the global carbon cycle. BioScience. 49: 769-778.

Credits for the Data Set
Steven Klooster and Vanessa Genovese (California State University Monterey Bay), Christopher Potter (NASA Ames)

 
Climate Scenario CO2 Fluxes
Climate Scenario CO2 Fluxes The risks of global climate change are considerable. Shifting precipitation patterns and increased variability of moderate to extreme climate events would require adaptation of management techniques. -- Source: General Guidelines for the Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program, 1994, Vol. II Agricultural Sector

Nature of the Data Set

Climate scenario CO2 fluxes from the NASA-CASA model predictions are available in this CQUEST data set for use in the assessment of the carbon sink or source potential of any given location under a climate scenario variation as either above or below average surface air temperature (TEMP), or surface precipitation (PREC), or both TEMP and PREC.

Average climate data came from the Vegetation/Ecosystem Modeling and Analysis Project (VEMAP) Phase 1 data set for the continental U.S. at 10-km spatial resolution. Net ecosystem production (NEP) flux of CO2 is computed in the NASA-CASA model for each of these climate variation scenarios as the difference between net primary production (NPP) of vegetation and the respiration loss of CO2 by microbes in the soil (Rh) each year. CQUEST map files show red for net annual ecosystem sink fluxes (positive NEP values; net CO2 uptake from the atmosphere), blue for net annual ecosystem source fluxes (negative NEP values; net CO2 loss to the atmosphere), and white for zero net annual flux values, all in units of g C m-2 yr-1.
Uses of the Data Set
These climate scenario NEP data sets can be used in combination with any appropriate climate maps for the U.S. as predictions to estimate a range of carbon sequestration rates for any scenario year. Climate maps are necessary as companion data sets to identify areas of warm versus cool (TEMP) and wet versus dry (PREC) climate conditions, which can then be matched with corresponding CQUEST NEP flux results in geographic areas of interest. Historical climate maps can be used to estimate past carbon sinks or sources from the corresponding CQUEST NEP flux results, whereas climate forecast maps can be obtained to predict future annual sink or source fluxes. No claim is made in these climate variation scenarios of close similarity to any specific past or future climate year, nor to extended (multi-year) climate variation scenarios. These hypothetical NASA-CASA model NEP results are based on climate variation scenarios which generate a non-zero NEP flux prediction for one year only, followed by the assumption of a return to long-term (30 year) mean climate conditions.
The effects (on carbon storage and loss) of regional anomalies such as drought, cloudiness, length of the growing season, should be resolved. -- Source: The North American Carbon Program (NACP) Plan, A Report of the Committee of the U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Steering Group, 2002.
Companion Data Sets

Climate forecast maps for the U.S. are available from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC). The CPC 12-month lead forecasts of above or below average TEMP and PREC are based on a compilation of global circulation model (GCM) runs forced by a coupled ocean-atmosphere dynamical model.

Click on the following link for the latest national map climate forecasts

Vegetation/Ecosystem Modeling and Analysis Project (VEMAP), Phase 1 climate data


References for the Data Set

CPC climate forecast methodology

Climate forecast

Potter, C., S. Klooster, R. Myneni, V. Genovese, P. Tan, V. Kumar, 2003, Continental scale comparisons of terrestrial carbon sinks estimated from satellite data and ecosystem modeling 1982-98. Global and Planetary Change, 39, 201-213.

Credits for the Data Set
Steven Klooster and Vanessa Genovese (California State University Monterey Bay), Christine Hlavka and Christopher Potter (NASA Ames)

 
Carbon Land Cover Change Predictions
Afforestation of agricultural land can lead to large increases in carbon capture and storage. Reforestation of harvested forest land can accelerate the natural regeneration process. -- Source: General Guidelines for the Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program, 1994, Vol. II Foresty Sector

Nature of the Data Set

NASA-CASA model results for three alternative land cover classes, 'forest', 'crop', and 'grass', are provided as uniform coverage products for the U.S. These CQUEST maps provide users with predicted carbon pool and NPP flux estimates for secondary and tertiary land cover classes at locations where these classes are not specified as the primary land cover class at the 8-km pixel resolution.

Carbon Land Cover Change Predictions
The uniform land cover predictions were generated using a consistent average climate data set together with three interpolated map sets of monthly satellite greenness (FPAR) unique to 'forest', 'crop', and 'grass' coverages from the MODIS sensor. Although effects of irrigation or any other supplemental water management are not included directly in these NASA-CASA model outputs, the interpolated satellite greenness data on which these results are based may reflect irrigated crop conditions.

Uses of the Data Set

These alternative maps for carbon pool sizes and annual increment (net primary productivity, NPP) fluxes of CO2 can be intercompared, as a means to assess expected long-term changes in carbon sequestration rates resulting from potential changes among forest, cropland, and other grassland covers at any location in the U.S. Mean annual rates of carbon accumulation in woody biomass pools can be estimated from forest predictions as a fraction of NPP increments, in units of g C per m2 per year. Baseline pools for live leaf carbon (and standing wood carbon in forests) can be compared to Baseline pools for live leaf carbon in alternative grass and crop covers. Users may weight the area-based Baseline pools and fluxes by any available land cover map product for 'forest', 'crop', and 'grass' class proportions within their region of interest.

Land use projects that result in either 'avoided emissions' or additional sequestration of carbon in soils can be assessed for their potential to generate GHG reductions. Avoided emissions can be estimated as the carbon that would have been emitted under a "business as usual" production scenario but were avoided due to the alternative implementation of land use decisions or management practices that sequestered carbon in the ecosystem.

A permanent grassland environment stores more SOC (soil organic carbon) than does cropland agriculture. -- Source: General Guidelines for the Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program, 1994, Vol. II Agricultural Sector
Grassland

Ecosystem carbon stock changes are determined by the balance of carbon inputs - via photosynthesis and organic matter imports - and carbon losses through plant, animal, and decomposer respiration; fire; harvest; and other exports. Typically, but not always, intensive human use of an ecosystem leads to a net depletion of carbon storage relative to lightly exploited ecosystems. Source: IPCC Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry, 2000

Companion Data Sets

Vegetation/Ecosystem Modeling and Analysis Project (VEMAP), Phase 1 climate data

References for the Data Set
Potter, C., S. Klooster, R. Myneni, V. Genovese, P. Tan, V. Kumar, 2003, Continental scale comparisons of terrestrial carbon sinks estimated from satellite data and ecosystem modeling 1982-98. Global and Planetary Change, 39, 201-213.

Credits for the Data Set
Steven Klooster and Vanessa Genovese (California State University Monterey Bay), Seth Hiatt, Matthew Fladeland and Christopher Potter (NASA Ames)

 
Land Use Effects on Carbon
In the absence of special management practices such as conservation tillage, agricultural lands (particularly those that are candidates for conversion to forests) generally do not accumulate significant amounts of carbon from one season to the next. -- Source: General Guidelines for the Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program, 1994, Vol. II Foresty Sector
Land Use Effects on Carbon

Nature of the Data Set

Changes in carbon stocks for U.S. agricultural soils during the period from 1982 to 1997 have been reported by Eve et al. (2002) and Sperow et al. (Climatic Change, in press) using the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) method for GHG inventories. Both potential (+) and estimated actual (+/-) changes in soil carbon stocks were based on the IPCC inventory method and Major Land Resource Area (MLRA). Land use data from the USDA National Resources Inventory (NRI) were used as inputs, along with ancillary data sets on climate, soils, and agricultural management. MLRA coverages were defined by the USGS and USDA according to patterns of soils, climate, water resources and land uses.

The national map products developed originally at 1-km resolution from the Sperow et al. data set for the CQUEST application include several new modifications. Non-agricultural lands (forests, wetlands, deserts) have been excluded, based on the latest 1-km land cover product from the NASA MODIS sensor, prior to the carbon mapping estimates. Because federal grazing lands were excluded from original NRI soil carbon samples, they have also been removed from the mapping procedure using data reported in the NRI.

Uses of the Data Set

The units for estimated (actual) change in soil carbon stocks have been converted to g C per m2 per year, in part to facilitate comparisons to the NASA-CASA model and other independent predictions of carbon changes in cropland and grazing land soils. Results show that changes in land use and agricultural management (including reduced tillage, reduction of bare fallow, and application of organic manure) have resulted in a net gain of 17.1 MMT (million metric tons) C in U.S. agricultural soils over the period from 1982 to 1997. Potential changes in soil carbon stocks (based on assumptions of widespread improvements in soil fertility, water, grazing management, agroforestry, land conversion and restoration) could have resulted in a total storage of 66.1 MMT C over the same period.

Nature
Agroforestry involves mixing trees with annual crops to sequester carbon, and produce fuel wood and fruit crops. -- Source: Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases, 2002, Report number DOE/EIA-0608

Companion Data Sets

Sperow, M., M. Eve, and K. Paustian. 2001. Estimating soil C sequestration potential in U.S. agricultural soils using the IPCC approach. Proceedings paper for the U.S. DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) First National Conference on Carbon Sequestration, Washington, D.C. May 14-17, 2001.

USDA National Resources Inventory (NRI)

References for the Data Set
Eve, M.D., M. Sperow, K. Paustian, and R. Follett. 2002. National-scale estimation of changes in soil carbon stocks on agricultural lands. Environmental Pollution, 116: 431-438.

Credits for the Data Set
Mark Sperow (West Virginia University), Keith Paustain (Colorado State University), Ronald Follett (USDA Agricultural Research Service), Seth Hiatt, Vanessa Genovese (California State University Monterey Bay), Peggy Gross, Christopher Potter (NASA Ames)

 

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