New Paper “More Than CO2: A Broader Picture For Managing Climate Change And Variability To Avoid Ecosystem Collapse” By McAlpine Et Al 2010

We have a new paper, prepared under the leadership of Clive McAlpine of the University of Queensland, that has been accepted. It is

McAlpine, C.A., W.F. Laurance, J.G. Ryan, L. Seabrook, J.I. Syktus, A.E. Etter, P.M. Fearnside, P. Dargusch, and R.A. Pielke Sr. 2010: More than CO2: A broader picture for managing climate change and variability to avoid ecosystem collapse. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, in press.

The abstract reads

“Climate change policies currently focus on reducing the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases, but pay limited attention to feedbacks between the land surface and the climate system. Forests and woodlands play an important role in the climate system by buffering climate extremes, maintaining the hydrological cycle and sequestering carbon. To reduce the potential impact of climate variability and change on society and the environment, therefore, requires a broader focus of environmental sustainability and resilience that is underpinned by the restoration of feedbacks between vegetation and climate. We urge a stronger integration of land use and climate change policies, a virtual halt to all deforestation, and an acceleration of investment in strategic reforestation, especially in tropical and sub-tropical regions, supported by a comprehensive global forest monitoring program. Without these actions, the degradation of the Earth’s ecosystems will continue exacerbated by, and exacerbating, variability and changes in temperature, precipitation and extreme weather events.”

The conclusion reads

“The role of terrestrial ecosystems, especially forests and woodlands, in the climate debate has predominantly focused on their potential for carbon sequestration. We argue it is critical to adopt a broader perspective of the role of forests and other ecosystems in the climate debate, policies and actions. This requires global and regional climate policies which recognise the climate regulation function that forests and woodlands play through moderating regional climate variability, resisting abrupt change to existing climate regimes, as well as underpinning the hydrological cycle. This is especially important in the tropics and subtropics. Failure to acknowledge and adopt this broader perspective on dealing with the problem of climate change will result in sub-optimal solutions at the global scale and possible severe and irreversible damage at the regional scale.”

This is yet another paper that documents why we need a broader focus on the role of humans in the climate system than just the effects due to the radiative effect of added CO2.

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