Size and frequency of natural forest disturbances and the Amazon forest carbon balance
Brienen, Roel J.W.
Nature Publishing Group
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Forest inventory studies in the Amazon indicate a large terrestrial carbon sink. However, field plots may fail to represent forest mortality processes at landscape-scales of tropical forests. Here we characterize the frequency distribution of disturbance events in natural forests from 0.01 ha to 2,651 ha size throughout Amazonia using a novel combination of forest inventory, airborne lidar and satellite remote sensing data. We find that small-scale mortality events are responsible for aboveground biomass losses of ~1.7 Pg C y(-1) over the entire Amazon region. We also find that intermediate-scale disturbances account for losses of ~0.2 Pg C y(-1), and that the largest-scale disturbances as a result of blow-downs only account for losses of ~0.004 Pg C y(-1). Simulation of growth and mortality indicates that even when all carbon losses from intermediate and large-scale disturbances are considered, these are outweighed by the net biomass accumulation by tree growth, supporting the inference of an Amazon carbon sink.
NASA Earth System Science Fellowship (NESSF)
types: Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
Copyright © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
This is an open-access article
2014, Vol. 5, pp. 3434 -
Place of publication