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  Old growth Afrotropical forests critical for maintaining forest carbon

Poulsen, J. R., Medjibe, V. P., White, L. J. T., Miao, Z., Banak-Ngok, L., Beirne, C., et al. (2020). Old growth Afrotropical forests critical for maintaining forest carbon. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 29(10), 1785-1798. doi:10.1111/geb.13150.

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 Creators:
Poulsen, John R.1, Author
Medjibe, Vincent P.1, Author
White, Lee J. T.1, Author
Miao, Zewei1, Author
Banak-Ngok, Ludovic1, Author
Beirne, Chris1, Author
Clark, Connie J.1, Author
Cuni-Sanchez, Aida1, Author
Disney, Mathias1, Author
Doucet, Jean-Louis1, Author
Lee, Michelle E.1, Author
Lewis, Simon L.1, Author
Mitchard, Edward1, Author
Nuñez, CL1, Author              
Reitsma, Jan1, Author
Saatchi, Sassan1, Author
Scott, Charles T.1, Author
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1external, ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: aboveground biomass, carbon, Central Africa, climate change, Gabon, large trees, tree height, tropical forest, wood density
 Abstract: Abstract Aim Large trees [≥ 70 cm diameter at breast height (DBH)] contribute disproportionately to aboveground carbon stock (AGC) across the tropics but may be vulnerable to changing climate and human activities. Here we determine the distribution, drivers and threats to large trees and high carbon forest. Location Central Africa. Time period Current. Major taxa studied Trees. Methods Using Gabon's new National Resource Inventory of 104 field sites, AGC was calculated from 67,466 trees from 578 species and 97 genera. Power and Michaelis?Menten models assessed the contribution of large trees to AGC. Environmental and anthropogenic drivers of AGC, large trees, and stand variables were modelled using Akaike?s information criterion (AIC) weights to calculate average regression coefficients for all p ossible models. Results Mean AGC for trees ≥ 10 cm DBH in Gabonese forestlands was 141.7 Mg C/ha, with averages of 166.6, 171.3 and 96.6 Mg C/ha in old growth, concession and secondary forest. High carbon forests occurred where large trees are most abundant: 31% of AGC was stored in large trees (2.3% of all stems). Human activities largely drove variation in AGC and large trees, but climate and edaphic conditions also determined stand variables (basal area, tree height, wood density, stem density). AGC and large trees increased with distance from human settlements; AGC was 40% lower in secondary than primary and concession forests and 33% higher in protected than non-managed areas. Main conclusions AGC and large trees were negatively associated with human activities, highlighting the importance of forest management. Redefining large trees as ≥ 50 cm DBH (4.3% more stems) would account for 20% more AGC. This study demonstrates that protecting relatively undisturbed forests can be disproportionately effective in conserving carbon and suggests that including sustainable forestry in programs like reduced emissions for deforestation and forest degradation could maintain carbon dense forests in logging concessions that are a large proportion of remaining Central African forests.

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 Dates: 2020-07-16
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
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 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1111/geb.13150
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Title: Global Ecology and Biogeography
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Oxford, U.K. : Wiley-Blackwell
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 29 (10) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 1785 - 1798 Identifier: ISSN: 1466-822X
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925579097