Net changes in regional woody vegetation cover and carbon storage in Texas drylands, 1937-1999

Gregory P. Asner, Steve Archer, R. Flint Hughes, R. James Ansley, Carol A. Wessman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

233 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although local increases in woody plant cover have been documented in arid and semiarid ecosystems worldwide, there have been few long-term, large-scale analyses of changes in woody plant cover and aboveground carbon (C) stocks. We used historical aerial photography, contemporary Landsat satellite data, field observations, and image analysis techniques to assess spatially specific changes in woody vegetation cover and aboveground C stocks between 1937 and 1999 in a 400-km2 region of northern Texas, USA. Changes in land cover were then related to topo-edaphic setting and historical land-use practices. Mechanical or chemical brush management occurred over much of the region in the 1940-1950s. Rangelands not targeted for brush management experienced woody cover increases of up to 500% in 63 years. Areas managed with herbicides, mechanical treatments or fire exhibited a wide range of woody cover changes relative to 1937 (-75% to + 280%), depending on soil type and time since last management action. At the integrated regional scale, there was a net 30% increase in woody plant cover over the 63-year period. Regional increases were greatest in riparian corridors (33%) and shallow clay uplands (26%) and least on upland clay loams (15%). Allometric relationships between canopy cover and aboveground biomass were used to estimate net above-ground C storage changes in upland (nonriparian) portions of regional landscapes. Carbon stocks increased from 380g Cm-2 in 1937 to 500 g Cm-2 in 1999, a 32% net increase across the 400 km2 region over the 63-year period. These plant C storage change estimates are highly conservative in that they did not include the substantial increases in woody plant cover observed within riparian landscape elements. Results are discussed in terms of implications for 'carbon accounting' and the global C cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-335
Number of pages20
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

woody plant
carbon sequestration
vegetation cover
Carbon
Brushes
carbon
clay
aerial photography
Aerial photography
aboveground biomass
rangeland
image analysis
Landsat
soil type
herbicide
Herbicides
satellite data
land cover
Land use
Ecosystems

Keywords

  • Brush management
  • Carbon accounting
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Carbon storage
  • Land-use change
  • Landcover change
  • Mesquite
  • Prosopis glandulosa
  • Savanna
  • Woody encroachment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Net changes in regional woody vegetation cover and carbon storage in Texas drylands, 1937-1999. / Asner, Gregory P.; Archer, Steve; Hughes, R. Flint; Ansley, R. James; Wessman, Carol A.

In: Global Change Biology, Vol. 9, No. 3, 03.2003, p. 316-335.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Asner, Gregory P. ; Archer, Steve ; Hughes, R. Flint ; Ansley, R. James ; Wessman, Carol A. / Net changes in regional woody vegetation cover and carbon storage in Texas drylands, 1937-1999. In: Global Change Biology. 2003 ; Vol. 9, No. 3. pp. 316-335.
@article{7267ce7c4c8b4ccda4394a08a47564b4,
title = "Net changes in regional woody vegetation cover and carbon storage in Texas drylands, 1937-1999",
abstract = "Although local increases in woody plant cover have been documented in arid and semiarid ecosystems worldwide, there have been few long-term, large-scale analyses of changes in woody plant cover and aboveground carbon (C) stocks. We used historical aerial photography, contemporary Landsat satellite data, field observations, and image analysis techniques to assess spatially specific changes in woody vegetation cover and aboveground C stocks between 1937 and 1999 in a 400-km2 region of northern Texas, USA. Changes in land cover were then related to topo-edaphic setting and historical land-use practices. Mechanical or chemical brush management occurred over much of the region in the 1940-1950s. Rangelands not targeted for brush management experienced woody cover increases of up to 500{\%} in 63 years. Areas managed with herbicides, mechanical treatments or fire exhibited a wide range of woody cover changes relative to 1937 (-75{\%} to + 280{\%}), depending on soil type and time since last management action. At the integrated regional scale, there was a net 30{\%} increase in woody plant cover over the 63-year period. Regional increases were greatest in riparian corridors (33{\%}) and shallow clay uplands (26{\%}) and least on upland clay loams (15{\%}). Allometric relationships between canopy cover and aboveground biomass were used to estimate net above-ground C storage changes in upland (nonriparian) portions of regional landscapes. Carbon stocks increased from 380g Cm-2 in 1937 to 500 g Cm-2 in 1999, a 32{\%} net increase across the 400 km2 region over the 63-year period. These plant C storage change estimates are highly conservative in that they did not include the substantial increases in woody plant cover observed within riparian landscape elements. Results are discussed in terms of implications for 'carbon accounting' and the global C cycle.",
keywords = "Brush management, Carbon accounting, Carbon sequestration, Carbon storage, Land-use change, Landcover change, Mesquite, Prosopis glandulosa, Savanna, Woody encroachment",
author = "Asner, {Gregory P.} and Steve Archer and Hughes, {R. Flint} and Ansley, {R. James} and Wessman, {Carol A.}",
year = "2003",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1046/j.1365-2486.2003.00594.x",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "9",
pages = "316--335",
journal = "Global Change Biology",
issn = "1354-1013",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Net changes in regional woody vegetation cover and carbon storage in Texas drylands, 1937-1999

AU - Asner, Gregory P.

AU - Archer, Steve

AU - Hughes, R. Flint

AU - Ansley, R. James

AU - Wessman, Carol A.

PY - 2003/3

Y1 - 2003/3

N2 - Although local increases in woody plant cover have been documented in arid and semiarid ecosystems worldwide, there have been few long-term, large-scale analyses of changes in woody plant cover and aboveground carbon (C) stocks. We used historical aerial photography, contemporary Landsat satellite data, field observations, and image analysis techniques to assess spatially specific changes in woody vegetation cover and aboveground C stocks between 1937 and 1999 in a 400-km2 region of northern Texas, USA. Changes in land cover were then related to topo-edaphic setting and historical land-use practices. Mechanical or chemical brush management occurred over much of the region in the 1940-1950s. Rangelands not targeted for brush management experienced woody cover increases of up to 500% in 63 years. Areas managed with herbicides, mechanical treatments or fire exhibited a wide range of woody cover changes relative to 1937 (-75% to + 280%), depending on soil type and time since last management action. At the integrated regional scale, there was a net 30% increase in woody plant cover over the 63-year period. Regional increases were greatest in riparian corridors (33%) and shallow clay uplands (26%) and least on upland clay loams (15%). Allometric relationships between canopy cover and aboveground biomass were used to estimate net above-ground C storage changes in upland (nonriparian) portions of regional landscapes. Carbon stocks increased from 380g Cm-2 in 1937 to 500 g Cm-2 in 1999, a 32% net increase across the 400 km2 region over the 63-year period. These plant C storage change estimates are highly conservative in that they did not include the substantial increases in woody plant cover observed within riparian landscape elements. Results are discussed in terms of implications for 'carbon accounting' and the global C cycle.

AB - Although local increases in woody plant cover have been documented in arid and semiarid ecosystems worldwide, there have been few long-term, large-scale analyses of changes in woody plant cover and aboveground carbon (C) stocks. We used historical aerial photography, contemporary Landsat satellite data, field observations, and image analysis techniques to assess spatially specific changes in woody vegetation cover and aboveground C stocks between 1937 and 1999 in a 400-km2 region of northern Texas, USA. Changes in land cover were then related to topo-edaphic setting and historical land-use practices. Mechanical or chemical brush management occurred over much of the region in the 1940-1950s. Rangelands not targeted for brush management experienced woody cover increases of up to 500% in 63 years. Areas managed with herbicides, mechanical treatments or fire exhibited a wide range of woody cover changes relative to 1937 (-75% to + 280%), depending on soil type and time since last management action. At the integrated regional scale, there was a net 30% increase in woody plant cover over the 63-year period. Regional increases were greatest in riparian corridors (33%) and shallow clay uplands (26%) and least on upland clay loams (15%). Allometric relationships between canopy cover and aboveground biomass were used to estimate net above-ground C storage changes in upland (nonriparian) portions of regional landscapes. Carbon stocks increased from 380g Cm-2 in 1937 to 500 g Cm-2 in 1999, a 32% net increase across the 400 km2 region over the 63-year period. These plant C storage change estimates are highly conservative in that they did not include the substantial increases in woody plant cover observed within riparian landscape elements. Results are discussed in terms of implications for 'carbon accounting' and the global C cycle.

KW - Brush management

KW - Carbon accounting

KW - Carbon sequestration

KW - Carbon storage

KW - Land-use change

KW - Landcover change

KW - Mesquite

KW - Prosopis glandulosa

KW - Savanna

KW - Woody encroachment

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0037354793&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0037354793&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1046/j.1365-2486.2003.00594.x

DO - 10.1046/j.1365-2486.2003.00594.x

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0037354793

VL - 9

SP - 316

EP - 335

JO - Global Change Biology

JF - Global Change Biology

SN - 1354-1013

IS - 3

ER -