University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) - Research portal

Logo BOKU Resarch Portal

Selected Publication:

Bhan, M; Gingrich, S; Roux, N; Noe, JL; Kastner, T; Matej, S; Schwarzmueller, F; Erb, KH.
(2021): Quantifying and attributing land use-induced carbon emissions to biomass consumption: A critical assessment of existing approaches
J ENVIRON MANAGE. 2021; 286, 112228 FullText FullText_BOKU

Biomass production generates land use impacts in the form of emissions from Forestry and Other Land Use (FOLU), i.e. due to changes in ecosystem carbon stocks. Recently, consumption-based accounting (CBA) approaches have emerged as alternatives to conventional production-based accounts, quantifying FOLU emissions associated with biomass consumption, for example, of particular territories. However, the quantification and allocation of FOLU emissions to individual biomass products, a fundamental part of CBA approaches, is a complex endeavour. Existing studies make diverging methodological choices, which are rarely critically discussed. In this study, we provide a structured overview of existing CBA approaches to estimating FOLU emissions. We cluster the literature in a two-by-two grid, distinguishing the primary element under investigation (impacts of changing consumption patterns in a region vs. impacts of consumption on production landscapes) and the analytical lens (prospective vs retrospective). Further, we identify three distinct dimensions which characterise the way in which different studies allocate FOLU emissions to biomass products: the choice of reference system and the spatial and temporal scales. Finally, we identify three frontiers that require future attention: (1) overcoming structural biases which underestimate FOLU emissions from territories that experienced deforestation in the distant past, (2) explicitly tackling the interdependence of proximate causes and ultimate drivers of land use change, and (3) assessing uncertainties and understanding the effects of land management. In this way, we enable a critical assessment of appropriate methods, support a nuanced interpretation of results from particular approaches as well as enhance the informative value of CBA approaches related to FOLU emissions. Our analysis contributes to discussions on sustainable land use practices with respect to biomass consumption and has implications for informing international climate policy in scenarios where consumption-based approaches are adopted in practice.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Bhan Manan
Erb Karlheinz
Gingrich Simone
Kastner Thomas
Le Noe Julia
Matej Sarah
Roux Nicolas
BOKU Gendermonitor:

© BOKU Wien Imprint