Spatial Patterns of Anthropogenic Carbon Emission and Terrestrial Net Productivity

  • Ohta, Shunji (Department of Human Behavior & Environment Sciences, Waseda University) ;
  • Kimura, Ai (Department of Human Behavior & Environment Sciences, Waseda University)
  • Published : 2006.12.31


This paper describes the current spatial patterns of the net primary productivity (NPP) of the terrestrial vegetation and carbon emission (C) in the world due to the burning of fossil fuels in order to clarify the amount of expansion of human activity. The C/NPP value varies spatially from almost zero to several tens of thousand times the local NPP. C/NPP is higher under the condition of extensive human activities due to a high human population density or when the local NPP is extremely low in severe climatic zones. In contrast, the low C/NPP areas are distributed mainly in sparsely populated districts, loading to a low impact of human activity. Although the area where C/NPP is less than 10% accounts for about 70% of the entire land area, one-third of these areas cannot contribute to carbon absorption because of low NPP with a shortage of climatic resources. Since more than half of the areas of the remaining areas are agricultural land and forest ecosystems with high NPP, the possible afforestation area was evaluated to be maximum of $30{\times}10^{6}\;km^{2}$; here only sequestrate carbons that correspond to 2% of the global total NPP are present. These analyses revealed that presently most of the areas where the NPP is high are those exclusively used by humans and that it is difficult for large-scale forest plantations to absorb a substantial amount of the carbon emitted annually by humans.


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