Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Land Use, Climate Change and Ecosystem Services

Attavanich, Witsanu and Rashford, Benjamin S. and Adams, Richard M. and McCarl, Bruce A. (2011): Land Use, Climate Change and Ecosystem Services. Published in: The Oxford Handbook of Land Economics No. ISBN: 9780199763740 (July 2014): pp. 255-280.

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The combination of shifts in crop production and a reduction in wetland ecosystems associated with climate change are forecast to reduce native grasslands and associated obligate species. Most estimates of climate change impacts to wildlife, however, do not account for how humans are likely to alter land use in response to climate changes. We examine the joint effect of climate change and the resulting land use response of farmers on waterfowl production in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America (PPR) by linking an economic model of land use with a waterfowl habitat and productivity model. We show that cropland in the PPR is likely to increase at the expense of grassland. Higher average temperatures, lower average precipitation and higher shares of land in crops decreases wetland and grassland habitat. Moreover, reduced habitat and higher crop shares are correlated with lower waterfowl production. Under alternative climate scenarios and their indirect effects on crop shares, wetland habitat and waterfowl numbers decrease substantially. Moreover, land use response to climate change exacerbates the direct negative effects of climate change on waterfowl populations. We show that failure to account for such land use changes may substantially understate the effects of climate on wetland productivity and the actions required to mitigate climate impacts.

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