UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

High aboveground carbon stock of African tropical montane forests

Cuni-Sanchez, A; Sullivan, MJP; Platts, PJ; Lewis, SL; Marchant, R; Imani, G; Hubau, W; ... Zibera, E; + view all (2021) High aboveground carbon stock of African tropical montane forests. Nature , 596 (7873) pp. 536-542. 10.1038/s41586-021-03728-4. Green open access

[thumbnail of CuniSanchez_2021_Nature_Unformatted.pdf]
Preview
Text
CuniSanchez_2021_Nature_Unformatted.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract

Tropical forests store 40–50 per cent of terrestrial vegetation carbon1. However, spatial variations in aboveground live tree biomass carbon (AGC) stocks remain poorly understood, in particular in tropical montane forests2. Owing to climatic and soil changes with increasing elevation3, AGC stocks are lower in tropical montane forests compared with lowland forests2. Here we assemble and analyse a dataset of structurally intact old-growth forests (AfriMont) spanning 44 montane sites in 12 African countries. We find that montane sites in the AfriMont plot network have a mean AGC stock of 149.4 megagrams of carbon per hectare (95% confidence interval 137.1–164.2), which is comparable to lowland forests in the African Tropical Rainforest Observation Network4 and about 70 per cent and 32 per cent higher than averages from plot networks in montane2,5,6 and lowland7 forests in the Neotropics, respectively. Notably, our results are two-thirds higher than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change default values for these forests in Africa8. We find that the low stem density and high abundance of large trees of African lowland forests4 is mirrored in the montane forests sampled. This carbon store is endangered: we estimate that 0.8 million hectares of old-growth African montane forest have been lost since 2000. We provide country-specific montane forest AGC stock estimates modelled from our plot network to help to guide forest conservation and reforestation interventions. Our findings highlight the need for conserving these biodiverse9,10 and carbon-rich ecosystems.

Type: Article
Title: High aboveground carbon stock of African tropical montane forests
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03728-4
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03728-4
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10138819
Downloads since deposit
7Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item