Impact of global urban expansion on the terrestrial vegetation carbon sequestration capacity

Zhuang Q., Shao Z., Li D., Huang X., Li Y., Altan O., ...More

Science of the Total Environment, vol.879, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 879
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.163074
  • Journal Name: Science of the Total Environment
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, Analytical Abstracts, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, Chimica, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, EMBASE, Environment Index, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Geobase, Greenfile, MEDLINE, Metadex, Pollution Abstracts, Public Affairs Index, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Global change, Urban expansion, Vegetation, Carbon neutrality, Net ecosystem productivity
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Continuous urban expansion has a negative impact on the potential of terrestrial vegetation. Till now, the mechanism of such impact remains unclear, and there have been no systematic investigations. In this study, we design a theoretical framework by laterally bridging urban boundaries to explain the distress of regional disparities and longitudinally quantify the impacts of urban expansion on net ecosystem productivity (NEP). The findings demonstrate that global urban expanded by 37.60 × 104 km2 during 1990–2017, which is one of the causes of vegetation carbon loss. Meanwhile, certain climatic changes (e.g., rising temperature, rising CO2, and nitrogen deposition) caused by urban expansion indirectly boosted vegetation carbon sequestration potential through photosynthetic enhancement. The direct decrease in NEP due to the urban expansion (occupying 0.25 % of the Earth's land area) offsets the 1.79 % increase due to the indirect impact. Our findings contribute to a better understanding of the uncertainty associated with urban expansion towards carbon neutrality and provide a scientific reference for sustainable urban development worldwide.