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      Benchmark map of forest carbon stocks in tropical regions across three continents.

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

      Africa South of the Sahara, Asia, Southeastern, Biomass, Carbon, metabolism, Climate Change, Conservation of Natural Resources, methods, Ecosystem, Geography, Latin America, Models, Biological, Trees, growth & development, Tropical Climate

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          Abstract

          Developing countries are required to produce robust estimates of forest carbon stocks for successful implementation of climate change mitigation policies related to reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). Here we present a "benchmark" map of biomass carbon stocks over 2.5 billion ha of forests on three continents, encompassing all tropical forests, for the early 2000s, which will be invaluable for REDD assessments at both project and national scales. We mapped the total carbon stock in live biomass (above- and belowground), using a combination of data from 4,079 in situ inventory plots and satellite light detection and ranging (Lidar) samples of forest structure to estimate carbon storage, plus optical and microwave imagery (1-km resolution) to extrapolate over the landscape. The total biomass carbon stock of forests in the study region is estimated to be 247 Gt C, with 193 Gt C stored aboveground and 54 Gt C stored belowground in roots. Forests in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia accounted for 49%, 25%, and 26% of the total stock, respectively. By analyzing the errors propagated through the estimation process, uncertainty at the pixel level (100 ha) ranged from ± 6% to ± 53%, but was constrained at the typical project (10,000 ha) and national (>1,000,000 ha) scales at ca. ± 5% and ca. ± 1%, respectively. The benchmark map illustrates regional patterns and provides methodologically comparable estimates of carbon stocks for 75 developing countries where previous assessments were either poor or incomplete.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Primary Production of the Biosphere: Integrating Terrestrial and Oceanic Components

           C Field (1998)
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            Carbon pools and flux of global forest ecosystems.

            Forest systems cover more than 4.1 x 10(9) hectares of the Earth's land area. Globally, forest vegetation and soils contain about 1146 petagrams of carbon, with approximately 37 percent of this carbon in low-latitude forests, 14 percent in mid-latitudes, and 49 percent at high latitudes. Over two-thirds of the carbon in forest ecosystems is contained in soils and associated peat deposits. In 1990, deforestation in the low latitudes emitted 1.6 +/- 0.4 petagrams of carbon per year, whereas forest area expansion and growth in mid- and high-latitude forest sequestered 0.7 +/- 0.2 petagrams of carbon per year, for a net flux to the atmosphere of 0.9 +/- 0.4 petagrams of carbon per year. Slowing deforestation, combined with an increase in forestation and other management measures to improve forest ecosystem productivity, could conserve or sequester significant quantities of carbon. Future forest carbon cycling trends attributable to losses and regrowth associated with global climate and land-use change are uncertain. Model projections and some results suggest that forests could be carbon sinks or sources in the future.
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              Determination of deforestation rates of the world's humid tropical forests.

              A recently completed research program (TREES) employing the global imaging capabilities of Earth-observing satellites provides updated information on the status of the world's humid tropical forest cover. Between 1990 and 1997, 5.8 +/- 1.4 million hectares of humid tropical forest were lost each year, with a further 2.3 +/- 0.7 million hectares of forest visibly degraded. These figures indicate that the global net rate of change in forest cover for the humid tropics is 23% lower than the generally accepted rate. This result affects the calculation of carbon fluxes in the global budget and means that the terrestrial sink is smaller than previously inferred.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                10.1073/pnas.1019576108
                3116381
                21628575

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