EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Impacts of land use and environmental change on the Eastern European land carbon sink

Karina Winkler1,2, Hui Yang3, Raphael Ganzenmüller4, Richard Fuchs1, Guido Ceccherini5, Grégory Duveiller3, Giacomo Grassi5, Julia Pongratz4, Ana Bastos3, Anatoly Shvidenko6, Arnan Araza2, Martin Herold2,7, and Philippe Ciais8
Karina Winkler et al.
  • 1Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-IFU), Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (
  • 2Wageningen University & Research (WUR), Laboratory of Geoinformation and Remote Sensing, The Netherlands
  • 3Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (MPI-BGC), Jena, Germany
  • 4Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Department of Geography, Munich, Germany
  • 5Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Italy
  • 6International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis IIASA, Austria
  • 7Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Germany
  • 8Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, LSCE, Université Paris-Saclay, France

Land-based mitigation is essential in reducing carbon emissions. Yet, the attribution of land carbon fluxes to their sinks and sources remains highly uncertain, in particular for the forest-rich but data-poor region of Eastern Europe. Here we integrate various data sources (from top-down and bottom-up modelling, earth observation, inventories) to show that Eastern Europe accounted for an annual aboveground biomass (AGB) carbon sink of ~0.49 GtC in 2010‑2019, or about 75% of the entire European carbon uptake. However, we find that the land-based carbon sink is declining. This declining trend is mainly driven by changes in land use and land management, but also by increasing natural disturbances due to ongoing climate change. Despite the high overall importance of environmental factors such as soil moisture, nitrogen and CO2 for enhancing the land-based carbon sink, we find indicators of a saturation effect of the regrowth in abandoned former agricultural areas, combined with an increase in wood harvest, particularly in European Russia. Our results contribute to a better understanding of the regional carbon budget of Eastern Europe and its trend. This study sheds light on land use and management as drivers of the land-based carbon sink and their role for climate mitigation.

How to cite: Winkler, K., Yang, H., Ganzenmüller, R., Fuchs, R., Ceccherini, G., Duveiller, G., Grassi, G., Pongratz, J., Bastos, A., Shvidenko, A., Araza, A., Herold, M., and Ciais, P.: Impacts of land use and environmental change on the Eastern European land carbon sink, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-13792,, 2023.