2015-04-15Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/4/044011
Three centuries of dual pressure from land use and climate change on the biosphere
Human land use and anthropogenic climate change (CC) are placing mounting pressure on natural ecosystems worldwide, with impacts on biodiversity, water resources, nutrient and carbon cycles. Here, we present a quantitative macro-scale comparative analysis of the separate and joint dual impacts of land use and land cover change (LULCC) and CC on the terrestrial biosphere during the last ca. 300 years, based on simulations with a dynamic global vegetation model and an aggregated metric of simultaneous biogeochemical, hydrological and vegetation-structural shifts. We find that by the beginning of the 21st century LULCC and CC have jointly caused major shifts on more than 90% of all areas now cultivated, corresponding to 26% of the land area. CC has exposed another 26% of natural ecosystems to moderate or major shifts. Within three centuries, the impact of LULCC on landscapes has increased 13-fold. Within just one century, CC effects have caught up with LULCC effects.