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How much carbon is sequestered during the restoration of tropical forests? Estimates from tree species in the Brazilian Atlantic forest

Shimamoto, Carolina Y., Botosso, Paulo C., Marques, Márcia C.M.
Forest ecology and management 2014 v.329 pp. 1-9
aboveground biomass, biomass production, carbon, carbon sequestration, carbon sinks, forest management, regression analysis, second growth, tree age, trees, tropical forests
The estimation of carbon accumulation in restoration areas over time is an important step for the evaluation of the success of restoration programs and to indicate the best practices for forest management and conservation. In the present study, we evaluated the aboveground biomass (AGB) of 10 tree species (fast-growing and slow-growing tree species) that are representative of the Brazilian Atlantic forest to test if biomass accumulation varies with tree age and ecological group (fast- and slow-growing). We also used regression models to simulate how much carbon is sequestered over time in restoration areas of tropical wet forests. The results exhibited differences between the two groups in terms of biomass accumulation; the slow-growing species accumulated an almost two-fold higher amount of total biomass (379.4kg) than the fast-growing species (208.56kg). The estimated age of the individuals explained the biomass accumulation: the long-lived and slow-growing species accumulate less biomass over a longer time, and the short-lived fast-growing species accumulate more biomass over a shorter period. These differences suggest that the fast-growing tree species contribute more to the carbon stock during the early years (approximately 37years) of the restoration and that the slow-growing species contribute more significantly during the later stages of succession. We estimated that second-growth forests (41–60years old) accumulate more than two-fold carbon than immature forest (21–40years old) and much more than ten-fold carbon than young forests (7–20years old). These differences in carbon sequestration magnitudes suggest that services provided by restoration areas, can increase exponentially in the first 60years, and this is particularly important for future conservation and management of areas undergoing restoration.