Skip to Main Content
Urban ecosystems and the North American carbon cycleAuthor(s): D.E. Pataki; R.J. Alig; A.S. Fung; E. Golubiewski; C.A. Kennedy; E.G. McPherson; D.J. Nowak; R.V. Pouyat; P. Romero Lankao
Source: Global Change Biology. 12: 1-11.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (181.43 KB)
DescriptionApproximately 75-80% of the population of North America currently lives in urban areas as defined by national census bureaus, and urbanization is continuing to increase. Future trajectories of fossil fuel emissions are associated with a high degree of uncertainty; however, if the activities of urban residents and the rate of urban land conversion can be captured in urban systems models, plausible emissions scenarios from major cities may be generated. Integrated land use and transportation models that simulate energy use and traffic-related emissions are already in place in many North American cities. To these can be added a growing dataset of carbon gains and losses in vegetation and soils following urbanization, and a number of methods of validating urban carbon balance modeling, including top down atmospheric monitoring and urban 'metabolic' studies of whole ecosystem mass and energy flow. Here, we review the state of our understanding of urban areas as whole ecosystems with regard to carbon balance, including both drivers of fossil fuel emissions and carbon cycling in urban plants and soils. Interdisciplinary, whole-ecosystem studies of the socioeconomic and biophysical factors that influence urban carbon cycles in a range of cities may greatly contribute to improving scenarios of future carbon balance at both continental and global scales.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, firstname.lastname@example.org if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationPataki, D.E.; Alig, R.J.; Fung, A.S.; Golubiewski, E.; Kennedy, C.A.; McPherson, E.G.; Nowak, D.J.; Pouyat, R.V.; Romero Lankao, P. 2006. Urban ecosystems and the North American carbon cycle. Global Change Biology. 12: 1-11.
KeywordsCO2 emissions, global carbon cycle, urban ecology
- Urban ecosystems and the North American carbon cycle
- A systems approach to assess climate change mitigation options in landscapes of the United States forest sector
- Effects of urban tree management and species selection on atmospheric carbon dioxide
XML: View XML