Above-ground biomass and structure of 260 African tropical forests
Lewis, Simon L.
van der Heijden, Geertje
De Cannière, C
Hamilton, Alan C.
de Haulleville, T
Pickavance, Georgia C.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
The Royal Society
We report above-ground biomass (AGB), basal area, stem density and wood mass density estimates from 260 sample plots (mean size: 1.2 ha) in intact closed-canopy tropical forests across 12 African countries. Mean AGB is 395.7 Mg dry mass ha−1 (95% CI: 14.3), substantially higher than Amazonian values, with the Congo Basin and contiguous forest region attaining AGB values (429 Mg ha−1) similar to those of Bornean forests, and significantly greater than East or West African forests. AGB therefore appears generally higher in palaeo- compared with neotropical forests. However, mean stem density is low (426 ± 11 stems ha−1 greater than or equal to 100 mm diameter) compared with both Amazonian and Bornean forests (cf. approx. 600) and is the signature structural feature of African tropical forests. While spatial autocorrelation complicates analyses, AGB shows a positive relationship with rainfall in the driest nine months of the year, and an opposite association with the wettest three months of the year; a negative relationship with temperature; positive relationship with clay-rich soils; and negative relationships with C : N ratio (suggesting a positive soil phosphorus–AGB relationship), and soil fertility computed as the sum of base cations. The results indicate that AGB is mediated by both climate and soils, and suggest that the AGB of African closed-canopy tropical forests may be particularly sensitive to future precipitation and temperature changes.
© 2013 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Open Access Article
Lewis SL et al. 2013 Aboveground biomass and structure of 260 African tropical forests. Phil Trans R Soc B 368: 20120295. Published version available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2012.0295
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2013, Vol. 368, Issue 1625