Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF)
- May 8, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF)
Section: Climate Change
- The rate of build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere can be reduced by taking advantage of the fact that atmospheric CO2 can accumulate as carbon in vegetation and soils in terrestrial ecosystems.
- Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change any process, activity or mechanism which removes a greenhouse gas from the atmosphere is referred to as a “sink”.
- Human activities impact terrestrial sinks, through land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) activities, consequently, the exchange of CO2 (carbon cycle) between the terrestrial biosphere system and the atmosphere is altered.
Definition of LULUCF:
- The LULUCF (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry) sector is used to report the CO2 flows between different terrestrial reservoirs (biomass, soils, etc.) and the atmosphere that take place on the managed surfaces of a territory.
- It can thus constitute a net source or a net sink of CO2.
- This sector, defined within the framework of national greenhouse gas emission inventories, reflects in particular emissions and absorptions linked to land use (growth, biomass mortality and wood removal in forests; impacts of changes in agricultural practices on cultivated soils, etc.) and to changes in land use (deforestation, afforestation, soil artificialisation, etc.).
- The methods for calculating these emissions and removals are defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Role of LULUCF in mitigation of climate change:
- The role of LULUCF activities in the mitigation of climate change has long been recognized. Human activities affect changes in carbon stocks between the carbon pools of the terrestrial ecosystem and between the terrestrial ecosystem and the atmosphere.
- Mitigation can be achieved through activities in the LULUCF sector that increase the removals of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the atmosphere or decrease emissions by halting the loss of carbon stocks.
- In its Special Report on Climate Change and Land, the IPCC identifies many land-related climate change mitigation options that have co-benefits for climate change adaptation.
- The IPCC report also recognizes that some activities can have adverse side-effects on other ecosystem services such as through increased competition for land and water if not implemented with due consideration to the local conditions including current use of the land.
- The IPCC identifies agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) as a significant net source of GHG emissions, contributing to about 23% of anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) combined as CO2 equivalents in 2007–2016.
- Forests present a significant global carbon stock accumulated through growth of trees and an increase in soil carbon.
- Conversion of primary to managed forests, illegal logging and unsustainable forest management result in GHG emissions and can have additional physical effects on the regional climate including those arising from albedo shifts.
- Conversely, in areas of degraded forests, sustainable forest management can increase carbon stocks and biodiversity.
- In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.
- Carbon storage in long-lived wood products and reductions of emissions from use of wood products to substitute for emissions-intensive materials also contribute to mitigation objectives.
- Other terrestrial systems also play an important role. Most of the carbon stocks of croplands and grasslands are found in the below-ground plant organic matter and soil. Consequently, soil carbon sequestration in croplands and grasslands has a mitigation potential of 0.4–8.6 CO2-eq/yr according to the IPCC.
Drawbacks of LULUCF:
- The main drawback of LULUCF activities is their potential reversibility and non-permanence of carbon stocks as a result of human activities, natural disturbances or a combination of the two with loss of carbon stocks and release of GHG into the atmosphere as a result.
- Climate change is also predicted to have an effect on growth and decay rates including the occurrence of natural disturbances with regional differences around the world.
- Rapid reductions in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions that restrict warming to “well-below” 2°C would greatly reduce the negative impacts of climate change on land ecosystems according to the IPCC.
Cooperation with other organizations:
The emergence of and continuing significance of issues related to LULUCF has stimulated cooperation with many organizations and institutions with forestry and agriculture experiences.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The Forestry Department of FAO has considerable experience in, among others, building capacity in developing countries and in assessing the global status of forests. Its work includes the publication of the Global Forest Resources Assessment as a contribution to knowledge on the state of the world’s forests.
- The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF). The CPF is s an innovative interagency partnership on forests comprising 14 international organizations, institutions and secretariats that have substantial programmes on forests. The mission of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests is to promote sustainable management of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end.
- The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF). The UNFF is an intergovernmental process with the objective of promoting the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. It allows forest policy dialogue facilitated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) and the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF).