Climate-relevant land use and land cover change policies

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Mahmood, Rezaul, Roger A. Pielke, Thomas R. Loveland, and Clive A. McAlpine
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Both observational and modeling studies clearly demonstrate that land use and land cover change (LULCC) play an important biogeophysical and biogeochemical role in the climate system from the landscape to regional and even continental scales. Without comprehensively considering these impacts, an adequate response to the threats posed by human intervention into the climate system will not be adequate.Public policy plays an important role in shaping local to national-scale land use practices. An array of national policies has been developed to influence the nature and spatial extent of LULCC. Observational evidence suggest that these policies, in addition to international trade treaties and protocols, have direct effects on LULCC and thus the climate system.However, these policies, agreements and protocols fail to adequately recognize these impacts. To make these more effective and thus to minimize climatic impacts, we propose several recommendations: 1) translation of international treaties and protocols into national policies and actions to ensure positive climate outcomes; 2) updating international protocols to reflect advancement in Climate-LULCC science; 3) continued investment in the measurements, data bases, reporting, and verification activities associated with LULCC, and LULCC relevant climate monitoring; and 4) reshaping Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation+ (REDD+) to fully account for the multi-scale biogeophysical and biogeochemical impacts of LULCC on the climate system.


Mahmood, Rezaul, Roger A. Pielke, Thomas R. Loveland, and Clive A. McAlpine. 2015. “Climate-Relevant Land Use and Land Cover Change Policies.” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, April. doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-14-00221.1.