5 years ago

Ecosystem management and land conservation can substantially contribute to California’s climate mitigation goals [Sustainability Science]

Ecosystem management and land conservation can substantially contribute to California’s climate mitigation goals [Sustainability Science]
Jonathan M. Remucal, Michelle C. Passero, D. Richard Cameron, David C. Marvin

Modeling efforts focused on future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from energy and other sectors in California have shown varying capacities to meet the emissions reduction targets established by the state. These efforts have not included potential reductions from changes in ecosystem management, restoration, and conservation. We examine the scale of contributions from selected activities in natural and agricultural lands and assess the degree to which these actions could help the state achieve its 2030 and 2050 climate mitigation goals under alternative implementation scenarios. By 2030, an Ambitious implementation scenario could contribute as much as 147 MMTCO2e or 17.4% of the cumulative reductions needed to meet the state’s 2030 goal, greater than the individual projected contributions of four other economic sectors, including those from the industrial and agricultural sectors. On an annual basis, the Ambitious scenario could result in reductions as high as 17.9 MMTCO2e⋅y−1 or 13.4% of the state’s 2030 reduction goal. Most reductions come from changes in forest management (61% of 2050 projected cumulative reductions under the Ambitious scenario), followed by reforestation (14%), avoided conversion (11%), compost amendments to grasslands (9%), and wetland and grassland restoration (5%). Implementation of a range of land-based emissions reduction activities can materially contribute to one of the most ambitious mitigation targets globally. This study provides a flexible, dynamic framework for estimating the reductions achievable through land conservation, ecological restoration, and changes in management regimes.

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