Terrestrial ecosystem feedbacks to global climate change

Daniel A. Lashof, Benjamin J. DeAngelo, Scott R. Saleska, John Harte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Anthropogenic greenhouse gases are expected to induce changes in global climate that can alter ecosystems in ways that, in turn, may further affect climate. Such climate-ecosystem interactions can generate either positive or negative feedbacks to the climate system, thereby either enhancing or diminishing the magnitude of global climate change. Important terrestrial feedback mechanisms include CO2 fertilization (negative feedbacks), carbon storage in vegetation and soils (positive and negative feedbacks), vegetation albedo (positive feedbacks), and peatland methane emissions (positive and negative feedbacks). While the processes involved are complex, not readily quantifiable, and demonstrate both positive and negative feedback potential, we conclude that the combined effect of the feedback mechanisms reviewed here will likely amplify climate change relative to current projections that have not yet adequately incorporated these mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-118
Number of pages44
JournalAnnual Review of Energy and the Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997


  • Biogeochemistry
  • Biogeography
  • Carbon cycle
  • Global warming
  • Greenhouse gases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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