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Aboveground forest biomass varies across continents, ecological zones and successional stages: refined IPCC default values for tropical and subtropical forests

Rozendaal, Danae MA; Requena Suarez, Daniela; De Sy, Veronique; Avitabile, Valerio; Carter, Sarah; Adou Yao, CY; Alvarez-Davila, Esteban; ... Herold, Martin; + view all (2022) Aboveground forest biomass varies across continents, ecological zones and successional stages: refined IPCC default values for tropical and subtropical forests. Environmental Research Letters , 17 (1) , Article 014047. 10.1088/1748-9326/ac45b3. Green open access

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Abstract

For monitoring and reporting forest carbon stocks and fluxes, many countries in the tropics and subtropics rely on default values of forest aboveground biomass (AGB) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventories. Default IPCC forest AGB values originated from 2006, and are relatively crude estimates of average values per continent and ecological zone. The 2006 default values were based on limited plot data available at the time, methods for their derivation were not fully clear, and no distinction between successional stages was made. As part of the 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for GHG Inventories, we updated the default AGB values for tropical and subtropical forests based on AGB data from >25 000 plots in natural forests and a global AGB map where no plot data were available. We calculated refined AGB default values per continent, ecological zone, and successional stage, and provided a measure of uncertainty. AGB in tropical and subtropical forests varies by an order of magnitude across continents, ecological zones, and successional stage. Our refined default values generally reflect the climatic gradients in the tropics, with more AGB in wetter areas. AGB is generally higher in old-growth than in secondary forests, and higher in older secondary (regrowth >20 years old and degraded/logged forests) than in young secondary forests (20 years old). While refined default values for tropical old-growth forest are largely similar to the previous 2006 default values, the new default values are 4.0-7.7-fold lower for young secondary forests. Thus, the refined values will strongly alter estimated carbon stocks and fluxes, and emphasize the critical importance of old-growth forest conservation. We provide a reproducible approach to facilitate future refinements and encourage targeted efforts to establish permanent plots in areas with data gaps.

Type: Article
Title: Aboveground forest biomass varies across continents, ecological zones and successional stages: refined IPCC default values for tropical and subtropical forests
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac45b3
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ac45b3
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the 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. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Physical Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences, Environmental Sciences & Ecology, tropical and subtropical forests, aboveground biomass, IPCC, secondary and old-growth forests, forest plots, monitoring, SECONDARY FORESTS, CARBON STOCKS, DYNAMICS, RECOVERY, ACCUMULATION, MANAGEMENT, ALLOCATION, NETWORK, MATURE
UCL classification: 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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10148617
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