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HomeScienceAnalysis of Socioecological Factors Impacting Carbon Levels in Agroecosystems: A Fresh Study

Analysis of Socioecological Factors Impacting Carbon Levels in Agroecosystems: A Fresh Study


The Kalamazoo River watershed in southwestern Michigan with land cover in b 1986 and c 2017 was submitted for visual assessment of change. credit: natural ecology (2023). DOI: 10.1007/s10980-023-01647-5

Researchers from Michigan State University, together with colleagues from the University of South Dakota, recently published research analyzing the social and biological impacts of carbon in agroecosystems in the journal. natural ecology.

Lead author Gabriella Chirky – Ph.D. Candidate from Michigan State University’s Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences – Joined by Rajit John, Jiquan Chen, Venkatesh Kolluru, Reza Gojani Ameris, Sandra T. Marquardt Pyatt, Lauren T. Cooper, and Michael Collins.

This research effort aims to better understand the relative contributions of human and environmental factors to terrestrial carbon production as well as the societal influences on potential carbon sequestration efforts.

Co-author Lauren T. Cooper, of the Forest Carbon and Climate Program, shares these thoughts on the research: “Land cover change is one of the biggest drivers of climate change. While many studies focus on challenges and solutions at the national level, in this study we had the opportunity to look at historical and current land cover here.” In Michigan. As Michigan looks to adopt nature-based climate solutions, this research highlights the role of distributed decision-making in protecting remaining natural spaces and in developing ambitious restoration plans—including optimizing carbon storage, ecosystem function, and connectivity.”

The research results indicated that the most important land cover types that contributed to terrestrial carbon production were agricultural lands, forests, and urban areas, respectively. Farmland is known to have high NPP contributions throughout the Midwest due to the rotation of corn and soybeans. However, agricultural and forest land cover decreased during the study period while land cover increased in urban areas.

Urbanization in an agroecosystem and removal of farmland, forests and meadows can reduce not only NPP, but also soil carbon sequestration as well as available supplies of food and fibre. Urbanization is also associated with an increase in managed turf which, while representing a measurable amount of carbon sequestration, increases water demand. This is important because grass, as in sports fields and golf courses, has been identified as the largest irrigated “crop” in the United States.

However, human activities such as land use and management may have a stronger influence on new energy production than land cover change alone. Socio-economic changes in land management were documented across the study area including significant changes in land use and agricultural land management and shifts in land ownership and tenure. In the context of the study’s landowner survey data, decisions about land use and management are influenced more by environmental stewardship motives than by beliefs about climate change or carbon cycle concerns.

The research findings support the authors’ hypotheses that human activities—including regional development and land management—have a greater collective effect on NPP and LCLUC than abiotic drivers. By integrating both community and environmental geospatial data, the authors established a social and environmental system (SES) modeling framework suitable for replication in subsequent landscape studies that may aim to assess patterns and processes of human-environment interactions.

The authors encourage future research and consideration of additional metrics such as edge effects, fragmentation, and fragmentation of land cover types to further assess landscape composition in SES models.

more information:
Gabriela Cherky et al., Land cover change and socioeconomic impacts on terrestrial carbon production in an agroecosystem, natural ecology (2023). DOI: 10.1007/s10980-023-01647-5

Provided by Michigan State University

the quote: New Research Analyzing Socioecological Impacts on Carbon in Agroecosystems (2023, May 31) Retrieved May 31, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-socioecological-carbon-agroecosystems.html

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