Carbon uptake by mature Amazon forests has mitigated Amazon nations' carbon emissions

Phillips, Oliver L., Brienen, Roel J.W., Gloor, E., Baker, T. R., Lloyd, Jon, Lopez-Gonzalez, G., Monteagudo-Mendoza, A., Malhi, Y., Lewis, S. L., Vásquez Martinez, R., Alexiades, M., Álvarez Dávila, E., Alvarez-Loayza, P., Andrade, A., Aragão, L. E.O.C., Araujo-Murakami, A., Arets, E. J.M.M., Arroyo, L., Aymard, G. A., Bánki, O. S., Baraloto, C., Barroso, J., Bonal, D., Boot, R. G.A., Camargo, J. L.C., Castilho, C. V., Chama, V., Chao, K. J., Chave, J., Comiskey, J. A., Valverde, F. Cornejo, da Costa, L., de Oliveira, E. A., Di Fiore, A., Erwin, T. L., Fauset, S., Forsthofer, M., Galbraith, D. R., Grahame, E. S., Groot, N., Hérault, B., Higuchi, N., Honorio Coronado, E. N., Keeling, H., Killeen, T. J., Laurance, William F., Laurance, Susan, Licona, J., Magnusson, W. E., Marimon, B. S., Marimon-Junior, B. H., Mendoza, C., Neill, D. A., Nogueira, E. M., Núñez, P., Pallqui Camacho, N. C., Parada, A., Pardo-Molina, G., Peacock, J., Peña-Claros, M., Pickavance, G. C., Pitman, N. C.A., Poorter, L., Prieto, A., Quesada, C. A., Ramírez, F., Ramírez-Angulo, H., Restrepo, Z., Roopsind, A., Rudas, A., Salomão, R. P., Schwarz, M., Silva, N., Silva-Espejo, J. E., Silveira, M., Stropp, J., Talbot, J., ter Steege, H., Teran-Aguilar, J., Terborgh, J., Thomas-Caesar, R., Toledo, M., Torello-Raventos, M., Umetsu, K., van der Heijden, G. M.F., van der Hout, P., Guimarães Vieira, I. C., Vieira, S. A., Vilanova, E., Vos, V. A., Zagt, R. J., Alarcon, A., Amaral, I., Camargo, P. P.Barbosa, Brown, I. F., Blanc, L., Burban, B., Cardozo, N., Engel, J., de Freitas, M. A., and RAINFOR Collaboration, (2017) Carbon uptake by mature Amazon forests has mitigated Amazon nations' carbon emissions. Carbon Balance and Management, 12 (1).

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Abstract

Background: Several independent lines of evidence suggest that Amazon forests have provided a significant carbon sink service, and also that the Amazon carbon sink in intact, mature forests may now be threatened as a result of different processes. There has however been no work done to quantify non-land-use-change forest carbon fluxes on a national basis within Amazonia, or to place these national fluxes and their possible changes in the context of the major anthropogenic carbon fluxes in the region. Here we present a first attempt to interpret results from ground-based monitoring of mature forest carbon fluxes in a biogeographically, politically, and temporally differentiated way. Specifically, using results from a large long-term network of forest plots, we estimate the Amazon biomass carbon balance over the last three decades for the different regions and nine nations of Amazonia, and evaluate the magnitude and trajectory of these differentiated balances in relation to major national anthropogenic carbon emissions.

Results: The sink of carbon into mature forests has been remarkably geographically ubiquitous across Amazonia, being substantial and persistent in each of the five biogeographic regions within Amazonia. Between 1980 and 2010, it has more than mitigated the fossil fuel emissions of every single national economy, except that of Venezuela. For most nations (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname) the sink has probably additionally mitigated all anthropogenic carbon emissions due to Amazon deforestation and other land use change. While the sink has weakened in some regions since 2000, our analysis suggests that Amazon nations which are able to conserve large areas of natural and semi-natural landscape still contribute globally-significant carbon sequestration.

Conclusions: Mature forests across all of Amazonia have contributed significantly to mitigating climate change for decades. Yet Amazon nations have not directly benefited from providing this global scale ecosystem service. We suggest that better monitoring and reporting of the carbon fluxes within mature forests, and understanding the drivers of changes in their balance, must become national, as well as international, priorities.

Item ID: 65467
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1750-0680
Keywords: amazonia, carbon balance, carbon sink, climate change, ecosystem service, land use change, sequestration, tropical forests.
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Additional Information:

Susan Laurance is a member of the RAINFOR collaboration.

Funders: Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF), UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), EU Seventh Framework Programme (EU - SFP), ERC Advanced Grant, Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award
Projects and Grants: Grant NE/B503384/1, Grant NE/D01025X/1, Grant NE/I02982X/1, Grant NE/F005806/1, Grant NE/D005590/1, Grant NE/I028122/1, EU-SFP GEOCARBON-283080, ERC grant T-FORCES
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2021 01:30
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960302 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies @ 100%
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