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Land Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

(LUGHG)

Of the earth ice free terrestrial area approximately 12% are used for agriculture, arable and grazing. This land is a major source for food, to more than 6 billion humans. In 40 year time the land have to produce food enough for 9 billion humans – which may be possible if taking more land into use or increasing the yields. But land used for food production inevitably emits greenhouse gases, in total 14% of all anthropogenically caused emissions (IPCC 2007), one of this century largest challenges; synchronously mitigation of agricultural emissions and satisfying food availability.

Nitrogen is one of the basic elements needed for life on earth, since it builds uttermost important molecules like proteins and chlorophyll. Natural ecosystems often experience a limitation of nitrogen which constrains plant growth. To get better yields nitrogen has been made available by taking new land into use or by cropping nitrogen fixing plants like clover and beans in agriculture. During the last century still larger yield was possible by adding manufactured inorganic nitrogen. We have now a dilemma, since increased nitrous oxide (N2O) emission and atmospheric concentration have a connection to nitrogen availability and food production.

Research at University of Gothenburg is being performed on the size of biogenic greenhouse gas emission in connection to agriculture and forestry. We are interested in how gas production bioprocesses are influenced by the soil and plant environment for example climate, soil physics and management. To increase our knowledge on how to mitigate the emissions we use several methods; field measurements, process modeling, up-scaling using GIS and system analysis.

No adequate method to estimate the size of emission from different crops, agricultural systems or regions is yet available. And it is a need for a method which can present mitigation options. Thus we are working on tools for estimation of nitrous oxide from individual fields and how to upscale to regional levels.

Ongoing projects

  • "Practicable tool for estimation of nitrous oxide from biomass-cropping in agriculture and forestry" funded by the Swedish energy Agency.
  • "Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Climate (BECC)", a strategic research area at Lund University in co-operation and co-funded by University of Gothenburg.

Land Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Group

Åsa Klemedtsson
Christine Achberger
Louise Andresen
Josefine Nylinder
Mohammad Aurangojeb
Hongxing He
Andreas Milver

Page Manager: Robert Karlsson|Last update: 10/4/2016
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