Robbie Andrew

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Climate Regulation in New Zealand:
Contribution Of Natural and Managed Ecosystems


Abstract

This chapter reviews all stocks and fluxes of carbon in New Zealand, and reviews biophysical regulation through surface albedo. The terrestrial environment provides a climate-regulation service by assimilating, transforming, and adjusting to emissions of greenhouse gases that could otherwise lead to undesirable changes in global climate. Quantifying this service requires accounting for both stocks and flows.

While greenhouse gas emissions and removals are reported in the national inventory, this inventory accounts only for human-induced changes in greenhouse gases, and omits some natural processes and ecosystems; for example, indigenous forest and scrub are not included but represent the largest biomass carbon pool in New Zealand.

Emissions are mainly attributed to the energy and agricultural sectors, while removals come from exotic forestry and natural shrubland regeneration. Erosion plays a role as a carbon sink through natural regeneration of soil carbon on slopes. Biophysical regulation occurs through absorption or reflection of solar radiation (albedo). Forests tend to absorb more radiation than crops or pasture, thus contributing to a lesser extent to global warming.

Government currently provides some mechanisms to incentivise sustainable land management in favour of increased forest area on lands unsuitable for agriculture. However, carbon stocks are also at risk of being lost through degradation of natural ecosystems, and this requires active management and mitigation strategies.

Services from the environment to our culture

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The field of ecosystem services describes how we benefit from the environment, including in intangible ways. While there are some established (albeit debated) methods for putting a value on some services, cultural ecosystem services are often placed in the too-hard basket. In this work, Robbie Andrew provides an overview of cultural ES, discussing the difficulties and presenting some potential solutions. Learn more »

Mapping ecosystem services

Anne-GaŽlle Ausseil and colleagues map provision of services by the environment across all of New Zealand. They then use the mapping method to assess an afforestation scenario at catchment scale to determine the consequences for the provision of a wide range of ecosystem services.Learn more »


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