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High aboveground carbon stock of African tropical montane forests

Aida Cuni-Sanchez 1 Martin J. P. Sullivan 2 Philip J. Platts 1, 3 Simon L. Lewis 4 Rob Marchant 1 Gérard Imani 5 Wannes Hubau 6 Iveren Abiem 7 Hari Adhikari 8 Tomas Albrecht 9 Jan Altman Christian Amani 5 Abreham B. Aneseyee 10 Valerio Avitabile 11 Lindsay Banin 12 Rodrigue Batumike Marijn Bauters 13 Hans Beeckman Serge Begne Amy Bennett Robert Bitariho Pascal Boeckx Jan Bogaert Achim Bräuning Franklin Bulonvu Neil Burgess Kim Calders Colin Chapman Hazel Chapman James Comiskey Thales de Haulleville Mathieu Decuyper Ben Devries Jiri Dolezal Vincent Droissart 14 Corneille Ewango Senbeta Feyera Aster Gebrekirstos Roy Gereau Martin Gilpin Dismas Hakizimana Jefferson Hall Alan Hamilton Olivier Hardy Terese Hart Janne Heiskanen Andreas Hemp Martin Herold Ulrike Hiltner David Horak Marie-Noel Kamdem Charles Kayijamahe David Kenfack Mwangi Kinyanjui Julia Klein Janvier Lisingo Jon Lovett Mark Lung Jean-Remy Makana Yadvinder Malhi Andrew Marshall Emanuel Martin Edward Mitchard Alexandra Morel John Mukendi Tom Muller Felix Nchu Brigitte Nyirambangutse Joseph Okello Kelvin S.-H. Peh Petri Pellikka Oliver Phillips Andrew Plumptre Lan Qie Francesco Rovero Moses Sainge Christine Schmitt Ondrej Sedlacek Alain Ngute Douglas Sheil Demisse Sheleme Tibebu Simegn Murielle Simo-Droissart Bonaventure Sonké Teshome Soromessa Terry Sunderland Miroslav Svoboda Hermann Taedoumg James Taplin David Taylor Sean Thomas Jonathan Timberlake Darlington Tuagben Peter Umunay Eustrate Uzabaho Hans Verbeeck Jason Vleminckx Göran Wallin Charlotte Wheeler Simon Willcock John T. Woods Etienne Zibera 15 
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.
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 3:00:05 PM
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Aida Cuni-Sanchez, Martin J. P. Sullivan, Philip J. Platts, Simon L. Lewis, Rob Marchant, et al.. High aboveground carbon stock of African tropical montane forests. Nature, Nature Publishing Group, 2021, 596 (7873), pp.536-542. ⟨10.1038/s41586-021-03728-4⟩. ⟨hal-03329118⟩



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