Title: FAOSTAT estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from biomass and peat fires
Citation: CLIMATIC CHANGE vol. 135 no. 3 p. 699–711
Publisher: SPRINGER
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC104995
ISSN: 0165-0009
URI: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-015-1584-y
DOI: 10.1007/s10584-015-1584-y
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED3) and the FAOSTAT Emissions database, containing estimates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from biomass burning and peat fires, are compared. The two datasets formed the basis for several analyses in the fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR5), and thus represent a critical source of information for emissions inventories at national, regional and global level. The two databases differ in their level of computational complexity in estimating emissions. While both use the same burned area information from remote sensing, estimates of available biomass are computed in GFED3 at tier 3 using a complex dynamic vegetation model, while they are computed in FAOSTAT using default, tier 1 parameters from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Over the analysis period 1997–2011, the two methods were found to produce very similar global GHG emissions estimates for each of the five GFED aggregated biomass fire classes: i) Savanna; ii) Woodland; iii) Forest; iv) Deforestation; v) Peatlands; with total emissions ranging 6–8 Gt CO2eq yr-1. The main differences between the two datasets were found with respect to peat fires, with FAOSTAT showing a lower 1997–1998 peak in emissions compared with GFED3, within an otherwise good agreement for the rest of the study period, when limited to the three tropical countries covered by GFED. Conversely, FAOSTAT global emissions from peat fires, including both boreal and tropical regions, were several times larger than those currently estimated by GFED3. Results show that FAOSTAT activity data and emission estimates for biomass fires offer a robust alternative to the more sophisticated GFED data, representing a valuable resource for national GHG inventory experts, especially in countries where technical and institutional constraints may limit access, generation and maintenance of more complex methodologies and data.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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