What Are the Effects of Agro-Ecological Zones and Land Use Region Boundaries on Land Resource Projection Using the Global Change Assessment Model?

TitleWhat Are the Effects of Agro-Ecological Zones and Land Use Region Boundaries on Land Resource Projection Using the Global Change Assessment Model?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsDi Vittorio, Alan V., Kyle Page, and Collins William D.
JournalEnvironmental Modelling & Software
Volume85
Pages246-265
Date Published09/2016
Abstract / Summary

Understanding potential impacts of climate change is complicated by spatially mismatched land representations between gridded datasets and models, and land use models with larger regions defined by geopolitical and/or biophysical criteria. Here we quantify the sensitivity of Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM) outputs to the delineation of Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZs), which are normally based on historical (1961–1990) climate. We reconstruct GCAM's land regions using projected (2071–2100) climate, and find large differences in estimated future land use that correspond with differences in agricultural commodity prices and production volumes. Importantly, historically delineated AEZs experience spatially heterogeneous climate impacts over time, and do not necessarily provide more homogenous initial land productivity than projected AEZs. We conclude that non-climatic criteria for land use region delineation are likely preferable for modeling land use change in the context of climate change, and that uncertainty associated with land delineation needs to be quantified.

URLhttps://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1364815216305448
DOI10.1016/j.envsoft.2016.08.016
Funding Program: 
Journal: Environmental Modelling & Software
Year of Publication: 2016
Volume: 85
Pages: 246-265
Date Published: 09/2016

Understanding potential impacts of climate change is complicated by spatially mismatched land representations between gridded datasets and models, and land use models with larger regions defined by geopolitical and/or biophysical criteria. Here we quantify the sensitivity of Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM) outputs to the delineation of Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZs), which are normally based on historical (1961–1990) climate. We reconstruct GCAM's land regions using projected (2071–2100) climate, and find large differences in estimated future land use that correspond with differences in agricultural commodity prices and production volumes. Importantly, historically delineated AEZs experience spatially heterogeneous climate impacts over time, and do not necessarily provide more homogenous initial land productivity than projected AEZs. We conclude that non-climatic criteria for land use region delineation are likely preferable for modeling land use change in the context of climate change, and that uncertainty associated with land delineation needs to be quantified.

DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2016.08.016
Citation:
Di Vittorio, AV, P Kyle, and WD Collins.  2016.  "What Are the Effects of Agro-Ecological Zones and Land Use Region Boundaries on Land Resource Projection Using the Global Change Assessment Model?"  Environmental Modelling & Software 85: 246-265.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2016.08.016.