Sectoral approaches to improve regional carbon budgets

Pete Smith, Gert-Jan Nabuurs, Ivan A. Janssens, Stefan Reis, Gregg Marland, Jean-Francois Soussana, Torben R. Christensen, Linda Heath, Mike Apps, Vlady Alexeyev, Jingyun Fang, Jean-Pierre Gattuso, Juan Pablo Guerschman, Yao Huang, Esteban Jobbagy, Daniel Murdiyarso, Jian Ni, Antonio Nobre, Changhui Peng, Adrian WalcroftShao Qiang Wang, Yude Pan, Guang Sheng Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Humans utilise about 40% of the earth's net primary production (NPP) but the products of this NPP are often managed by different sectors, with timber and forest products managed by the forestry sector and food and fibre products from croplands and grasslands managed by the agricultural sector. Other significant anthropogenic impacts on the global carbon cycle include human utilization of fossil fuels and impacts on less intensively managed systems such as peatlands, wetlands and permafrost. A great deal of knowledge, expertise and data is available within each sector. We describe the contribution of sectoral carbon budgets to our understanding of the global carbon cycle. Whilst many sectors exhibit similarities for carbon budgeting, some key differences arise due to differences in goods and services provided, ecology, management practices used, land-management personnel responsible, policies affecting land management, data types and availability, and the drivers of change. We review the methods and data sources available for assessing sectoral carbon budgets, and describe some of key data limitations and uncertainties for each sector in different regions of the world. We identify the main gaps in our knowledge/data, show that coverage is better for the developed world for most sectors, and suggest how sectoral carbon budgets could be improved in the future. Research priorities include the development of shared protocols through site networks, a move to full carbon accounting within sectors, and the assessment of full greenhouse gas budgets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-249
Number of pages41
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number3-4
Early online date29 Jan 2008
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


  • soil organic-matter
  • net primary production
  • agricultural land-use
  • long-term experiments
  • conterminous United-States
  • Northern hardwood forests
  • nitrous-oxide emissions
  • peat bog growth
  • climate-change
  • European forests


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