The LandCarbon project is assessing potential carbon pools and greenhouse gas fluxes under various scenarios and land management regimes to provide information to support the formulation of policies governing climate change mitigation, adaptation and land management strategies. The project is unique in that spatially explicit maps of annual land cover and land-use change are created at the 250-meter pixel resolution. The project uses vast amounts of data as input to the models, including satellite, climate, land cover, soil, and land management data. Management data have been obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) that provides information regarding crop type, crop harvesting, manure, fertilizer, tillage, and cover crop (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2011a, b, c). The LandCarbon team queried the USDA databases to pull historic crop-related management data relative to the needs of the project. The data obtained was in table form with the County or State Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) and the year as the primary and secondary keys. Future projections were generated for the A1B, A2, B1, and B2 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) scenarios using the historic data values along with coefficients generated by the project. The PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) Integrated Model to Assess the Global Environment (IMAGE) modeling framework (Integrated Model to Assess the Global Environment, 2006) was used to develop coefficients for each IPCC SRES scenario, which were applied to the historic management data to produce future land management practice projections.
The LandCarbon project developed algorithms for deriving gridded data, using these tabular management data products as input. The derived gridded crop type, crop harvesting, manure, fertilizer, tillage, and cover crop products are used as input to the LandCarbon models to represent the historic and the future scenario management data.
The overall algorithm to generate each of the gridded management products is based on the land cover and the derived crop type. For each year in the land cover dataset, the algorithm loops through each 250-meter pixel in the ecoregion. If the current pixel in the land cover dataset is an agriculture pixel, then the crop type is determined. Once the crop type is derived, then the crop harvest, manure, fertilizer, tillage, and cover crop values are derived independently for that crop type. The following is the overall algorithm used for the set of derived grids. The specific algorithm to generate each management dataset is discussed in the respective section for that dataset, along with special data handling and a description of the output product.