Woods Hole Scientist Studies Tropical Forest Declines

Woods Hole ResearchWOODS HOLE – Local scientist Alessandro Baccini from the Woods Hole Research Center recently took part in a study on the degradation of carbon stocks at the edges of tropical forests.

The dense forests of the tropics are known to hold the greatest amount of carbon of all the world’s forests, have a significant impact on climate and were a major topic of interest at the recent climate conference in Paris.

The preservation of these forests and the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation are key ingredients of the Paris Agreement.

The study which was just published in “Nature Communications” shows that the amount of carbon stored at forest edges has been overestimated by about 10 percent.

With tropical deforestation being an important contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions the proper accounting is necessary to assess carbon stocks and correct estimates will be required by the Paris Agreement.

Total annual global deforestation amounts to an area the size of Uruguay and when the forest edge is taken into account, forest fragmentation could amount to as much as 24 percent of global carbon losses from deforestation.

Employing remote sensing products could result in better accounting of edge effects which will enable effective restoration and forest management strategies.

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