Indicator Climate

Carbon balance of land use

Soil use (e.g. forest management, agricultural land use) and land-use change (e.g. settlements built on former cropland) result either in the release or storage of greenhouse gases, which then reduces or increases the quantity of carbon stored in the soil and vegetation. Since the beginning of the commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol (2013-2020), carbon storage in wood products from Swiss timber sources has also been taken into account.

Assessment of the state
medium medium
Assessment of the trend
impossible to evaluate impossible to evaluate
Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2018: -1.29102927741337 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2017: -1.32253661013215 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2016: -2.07900113186254 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2015: -2.07165644773828 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2014: -0.275504380513878 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2013: -1.7452393738917 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2012: -1.57329615790294 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2011: -1.04486724461409 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2010: -2.4302053331427 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2009: -2.89327471571491 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2008: -2.06484619082665 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2007: -0.00575291839645988 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2006: -1.33370853892478 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2005: -2.14478881816443 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2004: -3.02325128279791 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2003: -3.34143874204916 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2002: -2.47178805682369 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2001: -0.545713158713305 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 2000: 5.85822436318464 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 1999: -3.13296951831789 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 1998: -2.8372831088634 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 1997: -3.92543755115948 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 1996: -6.18740021519989 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 1995: -3.49915558641507 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 1994: -2.84294458449852 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 1993: -3.96110668753176 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 1992: -4.61872760751278 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 1991: -5.88008573846452 Changes in the quantities of the carbon stored in vegetation and in soil as a result of land use, land-use change and forestry* 1990: -1.93468175810967
*A positive balance means that there are greenhouse gas emissions (primarily CO2), while a negative balance means that more CO2-equivalents are absorbed.

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: Federal Office for the Environment
Harvested wood products 2018: -0.078340006325 Other land 2018: 0.114675906289443 Settlements 2018: 0.183951232345809 Wetlands 2018: 0.14724675028647 Grassland 2018: 0.322832708193025 Cropland 2018: -0.319149095706805 Forest land 2018: -1.66712389890431 Harvested wood products 2017: -0.0239742952 Other land 2017: 0.109115328635171 Settlements 2017: 0.196889737786515 Wetlands 2017: 0.119648440428907 Grassland 2017: 0.701492686243017 Cropland 2017: 0.741473873812622 Forest land 2017: -3.17213541391238 Harvested wood products 2016: -0.05726629983 Other land 2016: 0.0975341354909655 Settlements 2016: 0.192703529252612 Wetlands 2016: 0.115118659417065 Grassland 2016: 0.24463486548032 Cropland 2016: 0.629467510069882 Forest land 2016: -3.30628261035338 Harvested wood products 2015: -0.1001359385 Other land 2015: 0.105522088186048 Settlements 2015: 0.211689716424422 Wetlands 2015: 0.118462769615916 Grassland 2015: 0.56203395065738 Cropland 2015: 0.352202962752255 Forest land 2015: -3.3265772094463 Harvested wood products 2014: -0.115710144736 Other land 2014: 0.107616497869245 Settlements 2014: 0.224997729959538 Wetlands 2014: 0.11764883884535 Grassland 2014: 0.603144712825566 Cropland 2014: 0.549278198801018 Forest land 2014: -1.76767431206059 Harvested wood products 2013: 0.05689911241 Other land 2013: 0.11783480903221 Settlements 2013: 0.236821014931736 Wetlands 2013: 0.122868451490068 Grassland 2013: 0.446003566552733 Cropland 2013: 0.477273916935805 Forest land 2013: -3.20813472347425 Harvested wood products 2012: -0.134425330016 Other land 2012: 0.117239881111193 Settlements 2012: 0.197222544062356 Wetlands 2012: 0.124566288651891 Grassland 2012: 0.908318351979124 Cropland 2012: 0.447401281264752 Forest land 2012: -3.23853536678026 Harvested wood products 2011: -0.355530201229 Other land 2011: 0.116620381737656 Settlements 2011: 0.19877456989869 Wetlands 2011: 0.124373910416982 Grassland 2011: 0.505498480386901 Cropland 2011: 0.191452093673387 Forest land 2011: -1.8309657148107 Harvested wood products 2010: -0.45749465126 Other land 2010: 0.116029905168227 Settlements 2010: 0.200100929334312 Wetlands 2010: 0.124214620008514 Grassland 2010: 0.386020068217842 Cropland 2010: 0.331210803642218 Forest land 2010: -3.13518696116382 Harvested wood products 2009: -0.42292487785 Other land 2009: 0.110114566396824 Settlements 2009: 0.20343909709344 Wetlands 2009: 0.12417678211517 Grassland 2009: 0.349286972779274 Cropland 2009: -0.0331039016730117 Forest land 2009: -3.22921139455461 Harvested wood products 2008: -0.43323734137 Other land 2008: 0.110007935784054 Settlements 2008: 0.207406535868306 Wetlands 2008: 0.124081158507927 Grassland 2008: -0.0368164540237778 Cropland 2008: 0.245650703324705 Forest land 2008: -2.28691949585186 Harvested wood products 2007: -0.36581450809 Other land 2007: 0.118033171947061 Settlements 2007: 0.225052936892535 Wetlands 2007: 0.124214753018042 Grassland 2007: 0.74914886155234 Cropland 2007: 0.174129132535202 Forest land 2007: -1.03549068867764 Harvested wood products 2006: -0.54313453458 Other land 2006: 0.119565197727122 Settlements 2006: 0.23283252478602 Wetlands 2006: 0.123444585818214 Grassland 2006: 0.294617867914242 Cropland 2006: -0.034025987220591 Forest land 2006: -1.53201102064779 Harvested wood products 2005: -0.72786692408 Other land 2005: 0.120771371744457 Settlements 2005: 0.242319975986243 Wetlands 2005: 0.125030516476457 Grassland 2005: 0.556672473503227 Cropland 2005: 0.6408078657051 Forest land 2005: -3.10754000399792 Harvested wood products 2004: -0.58162766808 Other land 2004: 0.11855588629611 Settlements 2004: 0.238779023564504 Wetlands 2004: 0.122500960394276 Grassland 2004: 0.262734407742227 Cropland 2004: -0.141809180867346 Forest land 2004: -3.04742171585168 Harvested wood products 2003: -0.35902586641 Other land 2003: 0.117467431338819 Settlements 2003: 0.238196455777691 Wetlands 2003: 0.121961469656393 Grassland 2003: 0.295261146390317 Cropland 2003: -0.314617757782566 Forest land 2003: -3.44576839340781 Harvested wood products 2002: -0.30101898929 Other land 2002: 0.116390069197915 Settlements 2002: 0.237206786200133 Wetlands 2002: 0.121392568050524 Grassland 2002: 0.474365723947773 Cropland 2002: 0.358131233692149 Forest land 2002: -3.48340007711418 Harvested wood products 2001: -0.427085229773 Other land 2001: 0.115381197514471 Settlements 2001: 0.237563326183293 Wetlands 2001: 0.120847594851796 Grassland 2001: 0.736527504680493 Cropland 2001: 0.706426043064373 Forest land 2001: -2.04056405076273 Harvested wood products 2000: -0.72295621309 Other land 2000: 0.114453535455649 Settlements 2000: 0.239454688995061 Wetlands 2000: 0.120410961867135 Grassland 2000: 0.716686498357241 Cropland 2000: 0.943566737182161 Forest land 2000: 4.44135435243339 Harvested wood products 1999: -0.3864986863 Other land 1999: 0.11376029326844 Settlements 1999: 0.242666810504175 Wetlands 1999: 0.120266416317779 Grassland 1999: 0.111818436896833 Cropland 1999: 0.245916075823128 Forest land 1999: -3.58619384236624 Harvested wood products 1998: -0.30891683044 Other land 1998: 0.112700586448931 Settlements 1998: 0.242412004287848 Wetlands 1998: 0.119598256340241 Grassland 1998: 0.554529784071933 Cropland 1998: 0.0248969551339636 Forest land 1998: -3.58784371091232 Harvested wood products 1997: -0.25665539475 Other land 1997: 0.106598536409578 Settlements 1997: 0.240316036356495 Wetlands 1997: 0.118538020835982 Grassland 1997: 0.183473178241858 Cropland 1997: 0.296052241881936 Forest land 1997: -4.61916160131932 Harvested wood products 1996: -0.30206220028 Other land 1996: 0.106417593188592 Settlements 1996: 0.238773229064422 Wetlands 1996: 0.116324687541492 Grassland 1996: -0.205961525470686 Cropland 1996: 0.23424023402796 Forest land 1996: -6.38058020818167 Harvested wood products 1995: -0.487059756105 Other land 1995: 0.106440579837894 Settlements 1995: 0.240866329187021 Wetlands 1995: 0.115830525280836 Grassland 1995: 0.616393823024358 Cropland 1995: 0.608606728468155 Forest land 1995: -4.70572782844233 Harvested wood products 1994: -0.35858932071 Other land 1994: 0.104260628591401 Settlements 1994: 0.225887636494114 Wetlands 1994: 0.111371900233534 Grassland 1994: 0.459759640832265 Cropland 1994: 0.567644558633158 Forest land 1994: -3.95872925231699 Harvested wood products 1993: -0.47696124917 Other land 1993: 0.09381451817708 Settlements 1993: 0.229443282120461 Wetlands 1993: 0.105801534179162 Grassland 1993: 0.51546810965645 Cropland 1993: 0.69842159081037 Forest land 1993: -5.13251669028729 Harvested wood products 1992: -0.55640250018 Other land 1992: 0.0935966540143629 Settlements 1992: 0.231249669375866 Wetlands 1992: 0.104197956728943 Grassland 1992: -0.165313517912221 Cropland 1992: 0.393691212337977 Forest land 1992: -4.7251705599957 Harvested wood products 1991: -0.76396224542 Other land 1991: 0.0934237917530955 Settlements 1991: 0.230570630140908 Wetlands 1991: 0.104157759523428 Grassland 1991: -0.490976365344979 Cropland 1991: 0.0580188897219838 Forest land 1991: -5.11674058180695 Harvested wood products 1990: -1.16882481135 Other land 1990: 0.0933130060264068 Settlements 1990: 0.22616630411267 Wetlands 1990: 0.103361111918797 Grassland 1990: 0.138911380585022 Cropland 1990: 0.272515154785616 Forest land 1990: -1.60554351516018
A positive balance means that there are greenhouse gas emissions (primarily CO2), while a negative balance means that more CO2-equivalents are absorbed.

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: Federal Office for the Environment
Comment

The Swiss forest has been a major carbon sink in most years since 1990. The decline from 2000 (and 2001) was due to storm "Lothar", which heavily damaged forests. Increased harvesting was also a factor in the years 1990 (storm "Vivian"), 2007 and 2014. Wood products, e.g. as construction timber or furniture, have also constituted a substantial carbon sink since 1990 (although its total volume has tended to decline in recent years).The soils are showing marked annual fluctuations between carbon release and capture which can be traced back to the cultivation of mineral soils under different climatic conditions. In contrast, the former wetlands that are drained and used for agriculture release greenhouse gases constantly. Finally,  the development of new settlement and transport areas led to further greenhouse gas emissions in the period under review.

Forests (including wood products) compensate for the emissions caused by the use and change in use of other types of land-use categories, with the exception of the year 2000. In most years, significantly more CO2 equivalents were stored than released. Greenhouse gases continue to be released due mainly to the non-sustainable use of primary peaty soils and the use of land for settlement and traffic areas. For this reason, the state is not unreservedly satisfactory. The changes are impossible to evaluate since many factors can influence the total balance (forest and agricultural policies, spatial planning, construction activity, storms).

International comparison

The carbon balance of land use can be compared to the data from other countries, given that the emissions and sinks are calculated in accordance with the IPCC guidelines.

Method

The data are taken from the inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in Switzerland (Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry Sector), which is drawn up annually by the FOEN in accordance with the guidelines of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. The methods are consistent with the guidelines of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

Emissions and sinks caused by land use or changes in land use are recorded for six land-use categories (forest land, cropland, grassland, wetlands, settlements and other land), as well as harvested wood products. In addition to the categories listed here, total emissions include low levels of nitrous oxide which, under international guidelines, cannot be allocated to any of these categories. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is by far the most important greenhouse gas, while methane and nitrous oxide from fires, reservoirs, land-use changes and drained wetlands contribute to a lesser extent to the emissions. The emissions of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are converted to CO2 equivalents and added to the CO2 emissions.

 
Last updated on: 15.04.2020

Further information

Links

inidkatoren_hirun

Indicators

Search and list of all indicators

https://www.bafu.admin.ch/content/bafu/en/home/themen/thema-klima/klima--daten--indikatoren-und-karten/klima--indikatoren/indikator-klima.pt.html/aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuaW5kaWthdG9yZW4uYWRtaW4uY2gvUHVibG/ljL0FlbURldGFpbD9pbmQ9S0wwMzcmbG5nPWVuJlN1Ymo9Tg==.html