Ecosystem’s Contribution to Carbon Neutrality


To achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels, countries aim to achieve net-zero carbon emissions or carbon neutrality by mid-century. While providing various benefits to humans, such as food, fiber, shelter, livelihood, and other vital renewable resources, global ecosystems also contribute to the release and capture of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) and have an influence on the composition of GHGs. Destruction and degradation of natural ecosystems accounted for 12% to 20% of the CO2 released into the atmosphere globally. Hence, conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of the global ecosystems will provide great potential for the mitigation of climate change. In the meanwhile, many effective mitigation options are also relevant to ecosystems, such as afforestation, land-based measures, and nature-based solutions. Ecosystem-based options are frequently referred to in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to combat climate change and its effects. When done well, these options can provide many different benefits and thus deserve further investigation.

This special issue aims to explore the following research questions:

  1. What roles of various ecosystems, such as agroecosystems, forest ecosystems, grassland ecosystems, and aquatic ecosystems, can play in achieving the ambition of the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature to 2.0/1.5°C above pre-industrial levels?
  2. How can those ecosystems deliver effective climate mitigation? What are the pathways, measures, technologies, and policies?
  3. What are the possible synergies and trade-offs with adaptation, and other important ecosystem services for various ecosystems in delivering effective climate mitigations?

The topics include but are not limited to:

  • Method and modeling tools of integrated assessment on ecosystem’s contribution to carbon neutrality;
  • Theories, conceptual frameworks, and metrics of sustainable ecosystem management in the context of carbon neutrality;
  • Case studies on how ecosystems play a role in achieving carbon neutrality;
  • Mitigation potentials and costs of ecosystem-based solutions, including technology, know-how, and best practice;
  • Evaluation of various policy instruments.

Submission underpinned by various research methods, including qualitative, quantitative, or mixed, are encouraged. Both empirical studies and conceptual investigations are welcomed. We particularly encourage submission spanning across multiple disciplines and geographical borders.

Guest Editors

Minpeng Chen, School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Renmin University of China, China
[email protected]

Jinfeng Chang,College of Environmental and Resource Sciences, Zhejiang University, China
[email protected]

Nicklas Forsell, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria
[email protected]

Aline Mosnier, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, France
[email protected]

Submission Instructions

Please indicate in your cover letter that your submission is intended for inclusion in the special issue.

Submission Deadline: August 31, 2023

Table of Contents

Articles will appear below as they are published.