The effects of land cover change on carbon stock dynamics in a dry Afromontane forest in northern Ethiopia.
ABSTRACT: Forests play an important role in mitigating global climate change by capturing and sequestering atmospheric carbon. Quantitative estimation of the temporal and spatial pattern of carbon storage in forest ecosystems is critical for formulating forest management policies to combat climate change. This study explored the effects of land cover change on carbon stock dynamics in the Wujig Mahgo Waren forest, a dry Afromontane forest that covers an area of 17,000 ha in northern Ethiopia.The total carbon stocks of the Wujig Mahgo Waren forest ecosystems estimated using a multi-disciplinary approach that combined remote sensing with a ground survey were 1951, 1999, and 1955 GgC in 1985, 2000 and 2016 years respectively. The mean carbon stocks in the dense forests, open forests, grasslands, cultivated lands and bare lands were estimated at 181.78?±?27.06, 104.83?±?12.35, 108.77?±?6.77, 76.54?±?7.84 and 83.11?±?8.53 MgC ha-1 respectively. The aboveground vegetation parameters (tree density, DBH and height) explain 59% of the variance in soil organic carbon.The obtained estimates of mean carbon stocks in ecosystems representing the major land cover types are of importance in the development of forest management plan aimed at enhancing mitigation potential of dry Afromontane forests in northern Ethiopia.
Project description:The spruce forests are dominant communities in northwest China, and play a key role in national carbon budgets. However, the patterns of carbon stock distribution and accumulation potential across stand ages are poorly documented.We investigated the carbon stocks in biomass and soil in the natural spruce forests in the region by surveys on 39 plots. Biomass of tree components were estimated using allometric equations previously established based on tree height and diameter at breast height, while biomass in understory (shrub and herb) and forest floor were determined by total harvesting method. Fine root biomass was estimated by soil coring technique. Carbon stocks in various biomass components and soil (0-100 cm) were estimated by analyzing the carbon content of each component.The results showed that carbon stock in these forest ecosystems can be as high as 510.1 t ha-1, with an average of 449.4 t ha-1. Carbon stock ranged from 28.1 to 93.9 t ha-1 and from 0.6 to 8.7 t ha-1 with stand ages in trees and deadwoods, respectively. The proportion of shrubs, herbs, fine roots, litter and deadwoods ranged from 0.1% to 1% of the total ecosystem carbon, and was age-independent. Fine roots and deadwood which contribute to about 2% of the biomass carbon should be attached considerable weight in the investigation of natural forests. Soil carbon stock did not show a changing trend with stand age, ranging from 254.2 to 420.0 t ha-1 with an average of 358.7 t ha-1. The average value of carbon sequestration potential for these forests was estimated as 29.4 t ha-1, with the lower aged ones being the dominant contributor. The maximum carbon sequestration rate was 2.47 t ha-1 year-1 appearing in the growth stage of 37-56 years.The carbon stock in biomass was the major contributor to the increment of carbon stock in ecosystems. Stand age is not a good predictor of soil carbon stocks and accurate evaluation of the soil carbon dynamics thus requires long-term monitoring in situ. The results not only revealed carbon stock status and dynamics in these natural forests but were helpful to understand the role of Natural Forest Protection project in forest carbon sequestration as well.
Project description:Managing ecosystems for carbon storage may also benefit biodiversity conservation, but such a potential 'win-win' scenario has not yet been assessed for tropical agroforestry landscapes. We measured above- and below-ground carbon stocks as well as the species richness of four groups of plants and eight of animals on 14 representative plots in Sulawesi, Indonesia, ranging from natural rainforest to cacao agroforests that have replaced former natural forest. The conversion of natural forests with carbon stocks of 227-362 Mg C ha(-1) to agroforests with 82-211 Mg C ha(-1) showed no relationships to overall biodiversity but led to a significant loss of forest-related species richness. We conclude that the conservation of the forest-related biodiversity, and to a lesser degree of carbon stocks, mainly depends on the preservation of natural forest habitats. In the three most carbon-rich agroforestry systems, carbon stocks were about 60% of those of natural forest, suggesting that 1.6 ha of optimally managed agroforest can contribute to the conservation of carbon stocks as much as 1 ha of natural forest. However, agroforestry systems had comparatively low biodiversity, and we found no evidence for a tight link between carbon storage and biodiversity. Yet, potential win-win agroforestry management solutions include combining high shade-tree quality which favours biodiversity with cacao-yield adapted shade levels.
Project description:Tropical forests are global centres of biodiversity and carbon storage. Many tropical countries aspire to protect forest to fulfil biodiversity and climate mitigation policy targets, but the conservation strategies needed to achieve these two functions depend critically on the tropical forest tree diversity-carbon storage relationship. Assessing this relationship is challenging due to the scarcity of inventories where carbon stocks in aboveground biomass and species identifications have been simultaneously and robustly quantified. Here, we compile a unique pan-tropical dataset of 360 plots located in structurally intact old-growth closed-canopy forest, surveyed using standardised methods, allowing a multi-scale evaluation of diversity-carbon relationships in tropical forests. Diversity-carbon relationships among all plots at 1?ha scale across the tropics are absent, and within continents are either weak (Asia) or absent (Amazonia, Africa). A weak positive relationship is detectable within 1?ha plots, indicating that diversity effects in tropical forests may be scale dependent. The absence of clear diversity-carbon relationships at scales relevant to conservation planning means that carbon-centred conservation strategies will inevitably miss many high diversity ecosystems. As tropical forests can have any combination of tree diversity and carbon stocks both require explicit consideration when optimising policies to manage tropical carbon and biodiversity.
Project description:Exclosures are used to regenerate native vegetation as a way to reduce soil erosion, increase rain water infiltration and provide fodder and woody biomass in degraded grazing lands. Therefore, this study assessed the impact of grazing exclosure on carbon sequestration and soil nutrients under 5 and 10 years of grazing exclosures and freely grazed areas in Tigray, northern Ethiopia. Carbon stocks and soil nutrients increased with increasing grazing exclusion. However, open grazing lands and 5 years of grazing exclosure did not differ in above- and belowground carbon stocks. Moreover, 10 years of grazing exclosure had a higher (p < 0.01) grass, herb and litter carbon stocks compared to 5 years exclosure and open grazing lands. The total carbon stock was higher for 10 years exclosure (75.65 t C ha-1) than the 5 years exclosure (55.06 t C ha-1) and in open grazing areas (51.98 t C ha-1). Grazing lands closed for 10 years had a higher SOC, organic matter, total N, available P, and exchangeable K + and Na + compared to 5 year's exclosure and open grazing lands. Therefore, establishment of grazing exclosures had a positive effect in restoring degraded grazing lands, thus improving carbon sequestration potentials and soil nutrients.
Project description:Rising global demands for food and biofuels are driving forest clearance in the tropics. Oil-palm expansion contributes to biodiversity declines and carbon emissions in Southeast Asia. However, the magnitudes of these impacts remain largely unquantified until now. We produce a 250-m spatial resolution map of closed canopy oil-palm plantations in the lowlands of Peninsular Malaysia (2 million ha), Borneo (2.4 million ha), and Sumatra (3.9 million ha). We demonstrate that 6% (or ?880,000 ha) of tropical peatlands in the region had been converted to oil-palm plantations by the early 2000s. Conversion of peatswamp forests to oil palm led to biodiversity declines of 1% in Borneo (equivalent to four species of forest-dwelling birds), 3.4% in Sumatra (16 species), and 12.1% in Peninsular Malaysia (46 species). This land-use change also contributed to the loss of ?140 million Mg of aboveground biomass carbon, and annual emissions of ?4.6 million Mg of belowground carbon from peat oxidation. Additionally, the loss of peatswamp forests implies the loss of carbon sequestration service through peat accumulation, which amounts to ?660,000 Mg of carbon annually. By 2010, 2.3 million ha of peatswamp forests were clear-felled, and currently occur as degraded lands. Reforestation of these clearings could enhance biodiversity by up to ?20%, whereas oil-palm establishment would exacerbate species losses by up to ?12%. To safeguard the region's biodiversity and carbon stocks, conservation and reforestation efforts should target Central Kalimantan, Riau, and West Kalimantan, which retain three-quarters (3.9 million ha) of the remaining peatswamp forests in Southeast Asia.
Project description:Forest-to-rubber plantation conversion is an important land-use change in the tropical region, for which the impacts on soil carbon stocks have hardly been studied. In montane mainland southeast Asia, monoculture rubber plantations cover 1.5 million ha and the conversion from secondary forests to rubber plantations is predicted to cause a fourfold expansion by 2050. Our study, conducted in southern Yunnan province, China, aimed to quantify the changes in soil carbon stocks following the conversion from secondary forests to rubber plantations. We sampled 11 rubber plantations ranging in age from 5 to 46 years and seven secondary forest plots using a space-for-time substitution approach. We found that forest-to-rubber plantation conversion resulted in losses of soil carbon stocks by an average of 37.4±4.7 (SE) Mg C ha(-1) in the entire 1.2-m depth over a time period of 46 years, which was equal to 19.3±2.7% of the initial soil carbon stocks in the secondary forests. This decline in soil carbon stocks was much larger than differences between published aboveground carbon stocks of rubber plantations and secondary forests, which range from a loss of 18 Mg C ha(-1) to an increase of 8 Mg C ha(-1). In the topsoil, carbon stocks declined exponentially with years since deforestation and reached a steady state at around 20 years. Although the IPCC tier 1 method assumes that soil carbon changes from forest-to-rubber plantation conversions are zero, our findings show that they need to be included to avoid errors in estimating overall ecosystem carbon fluxes.
Project description:One-third of net CO(2) emissions to the atmosphere since 1850 are the result of land-use change, primarily from the clearing of forests for timber and agriculture, but quantifying these changes is complicated by the lack of historical data on both former ecosystem conditions and the extent and spatial configuration of subsequent land use. Using fine-resolution historical survey records, we reconstruct pre-EuroAmerican settlement (1850s) forest carbon in the state of Wisconsin, examine changes in carbon after logging and agricultural conversion, and assess the potential for future sequestration through forest recovery. Results suggest that total above-ground live forest carbon (AGC) fell from 434 TgC before settlement to 120 TgC at the peak of agricultural clearing in the 1930s and has since recovered to approximately 276 TgC. The spatial distribution of AGC, however, has shifted significantly. Former savanna ecosystems in the south now store more AGC because of fire suppression and forest ingrowth, despite the fact that most of the region remains in agriculture, whereas northern forests still store much less carbon than before settlement. Across the state, continued sequestration in existing forests has the potential to contribute an additional 69 TgC. Reforestation of agricultural lands, in particular, the formerly high C-density forests in the north-central region that are now agricultural lands less optimal than those in the south, could contribute 150 TgC. Restoring historical carbon stocks across the landscape will therefore require reassessing overall land-use choices, but a range of options can be ranked and considered under changing needs for ecosystem services.
Project description:Tropical forests are carbon-dense and highly productive ecosystems. Consequently, they play an important role in the global carbon cycle. In the present study we used an individual-based forest model (FORMIND) to analyze the carbon balances of a tropical forest. The main processes of this model are tree growth, mortality, regeneration, and competition. Model parameters were calibrated using forest inventory data from a tropical forest at Mt. Kilimanjaro. The simulation results showed that the model successfully reproduces important characteristics of tropical forests (aboveground biomass, stem size distribution and leaf area index). The estimated aboveground biomass (385 t/ha) is comparable to biomass values in the Amazon and other tropical forests in Africa. The simulated forest reveals a gross primary production of 24 tcha(-1) yr(-1). Modeling above- and belowground carbon stocks, we analyzed the carbon balance of the investigated tropical forest. The simulated carbon balance of this old-growth forest is zero on average. This study provides an example of how forest models can be used in combination with forest inventory data to investigate forest structure and local carbon balances.
Project description:Tracking the response of forest ecosystems to climate change demands large (?1 ha) monitoring plots that are repeatedly measured over long time frames and arranged across macro-ecological gradients. Continental scale networks of permanent forest plots have identified links between climate and carbon fluxes by monitoring trends in tree growth, mortality and recruitment. The relationship between tree growth and climate in Australia has been recently articulated through analysis of data from smaller forest plots, but conclusions were limited by (a) absence of data on recruitment and mortality, (b) exclusion of non-eucalypt species, and (c) lack of knowledge of stand age or disturbance histories. To remedy these gaps we established the Ausplots Forest Monitoring Network: a continental scale network of 48 1 ha permanent plots in highly productive tall eucalypt forests in the mature growth stage. These plots are distributed across cool temperate, Mediterranean, subtropical and tropical climates (mean annual precipitation 850 to 1900 mm per year; mean annual temperature 6 to 21°C). Aboveground carbon stocks (AGC) in these forests are dominated by eucalypts (90% of AGC) whilst non-eucalypts in the understorey dominated species diversity and tree abundance (84% of species; 60% of stems). Aboveground carbon stocks were negatively related to mean annual temperature, with forests at the warm end of the temperature range storing approximately half the amount of carbon as forests at the cool end of the temperature range. This may reflect thermal constraints on tree growth detected through other plot networks and physiological studies. Through common protocols and careful sampling design, the Ausplots Forest Monitoring Network will facilitate the integration of tall eucalypt forests into established global forest monitoring initiatives. In the context of projections of rapidly warming and drying climates in Australia, this plot network will enable detection of links between climate and growth, mortality and carbon dynamics of eucalypt forests.
Project description:Tropical forests are crucial for mitigating climate change, but many forests continue to be driven from carbon sinks to sources through human activities. To support more sustainable forest uses, we need to measure and monitor carbon stocks and emissions at high spatial and temporal resolution. We developed the first large-scale very high-resolution map of aboveground carbon stocks and emissions for the country of Peru by combining 6.7 million hectares of airborne LiDAR measurements of top-of-canopy height with thousands of Planet Dove satellite images into a random forest machine learning regression workflow, obtaining an R<sup>2</sup> of 0.70 and RMSE of 25.38 Mg C ha<sup>-1</sup> for the nationwide estimation of aboveground carbon density (ACD). The diverse ecosystems of Peru harbor 6.928 Pg C, of which only 2.9 Pg C are found in protected areas or their buffers. We found significant carbon emissions between 2012 and 2017 in areas aggressively affected by oil palm and cacao plantations, agricultural and urban expansions or illegal gold mining. Creating such a cost-effective and spatially explicit indicators of aboveground carbon stocks and emissions for tropical countries will serve as a transformative tool to quantify the climate change mitigation services that forests provide.