Modelling prehistoric land use and carbon budgets: a critical review

Boyle, J.F., Gaillard, M.-J., Kaplan, J.O. and Dearing, J.A. (2011) Modelling prehistoric land use and carbon budgets: a critical review. The Holocene (doi:10.1177/0959683610386984).


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An evaluation of modelled estimates for C release following early land clearance at the global level based on new model assumptions suggests that earlier studies may have underestimated its magnitude, chiefly because of underestimation of the mid-Holocene global population. Alternative information sources for population and land utilisation support both a greater total CO2 release and a greater Neolithic contribution. Indeed, we show that the quantity of terrestrial C release due to early farming, even using the most conservative assumptions, greatly exceeds the net terrestrial C release estimated by inverse modelling of ice core data by Elsig et al. (Elsig J, Schmitt J, Leuenberger D, Schneider R, Eyer M, Leuenberger M et al. (2009) Stable isotope constraints on Holocene carbon cycle changes from an Antarctic ice core. Nature 461: 507–510), though uncertainty about pastglobal population estimates precludes calculation of a precise value.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1177/0959683610386984
ISSNs: 0959-6836 (print)
1477-0911 (electronic)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Geography
ePrint ID: 193677
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
February 2011Published
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2011 07:24
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:43

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