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Glob Chang Biol. 2015 Sep;21(9):3246-66. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12951. Epub 2015 Jun 19.

Quantifying surface albedo and other direct biogeophysical climate forcings of forestry activities.

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Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute, ├ůs, Norway.
Industrial Ecology Program, Energy and Process Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University, Wooster, OH, USA.
School of Earth Sciences, Woods Institute for the Environment and Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, USA.


By altering fluxes of heat, momentum, and moisture exchanges between the land surface and atmosphere, forestry and other land-use activities affect climate. Although long recognized scientifically as being important, these so-called biogeophysical forcings are rarely included in climate policies for forestry and other land management projects due to the many challenges associated with their quantification. Here, we review the scientific literature in the fields of atmospheric science and terrestrial ecology in light of three main objectives: (i) to elucidate the challenges associated with quantifying biogeophysical climate forcings connected to land use and land management, with a focus on the forestry sector; (ii) to identify and describe scientific approaches and/or metrics facilitating the quantification and interpretation of direct biogeophysical climate forcings; and (iii) to identify and recommend research priorities that can help overcome the challenges of their attribution to specific land-use activities, bridging the knowledge gap between the climate modeling, forest ecology, and resource management communities. We find that ignoring surface biogeophysics may mislead climate mitigation policies, yet existing metrics are unlikely to be sufficient. Successful metrics ought to (i) include both radiative and nonradiative climate forcings; (ii) reconcile disparities between biogeophysical and biogeochemical forcings, and (iii) acknowledge trade-offs between global and local climate benefits. We call for more coordinated research among terrestrial ecologists, resource managers, and coupled climate modelers to harmonize datasets, refine analytical techniques, and corroborate and validate metrics that are more amenable to analyses at the scale of an individual site or region.


biophysical; climate impact; climate metric; forest management; land management; land-use change; review

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