Size and frequency of natural forest disturbances and the Amazon forest carbon balance

Espírito-Santo, Fernando D.B., Gloor, Manuel, Keller, Michael, Malhi, Yadvinder, Saatchi, Sassan, Nelson, Bruce, Oliveira Junior, Raimundo C., Pereira, Cleuton, Lloyd, Jon, Frolking, Steve, Palace, Michael, Shimabukuro, Yosio E., Duarte, Valdete, Mendoza, Abel Monteagudo, López-González, Gabriela, Baker, Tim R., Feldpausch, Ted R., Brienen, Roel J.W., Asner, Gregory P., Boyd, Doreen S., and Phillips, Oliver L. (2014) Size and frequency of natural forest disturbances and the Amazon forest carbon balance. Nature Communications, 5. pp. 1-6.

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View at Publisher Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms4434
 
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Abstract

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 ~1.28 Pg C y^−1 over the entire Amazon region. We also find that intermediate-scale disturbances account for losses of ~0.01 Pg C y^−1, and that the largest-scale disturbances as a result of blow-downs only account for losses of ~0.003 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.

Item ID: 33883
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material.

ISSN: 2041-1723
Funders: National Agency for Space Administration (NASA), CalTech, North America Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), AMAZONICA, European Research Council (ERC), Moore Foundation
Projects and Grants: NASA Earth System Science Fellowship grant no. NNX70AN84N, AMAZONICA grant no. NE/F005806/1
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2014 10:00
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 60%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069902 Global Change Biology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
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