Long-term carbon loss in fragmented Neotropical forests

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Puetz, Sandro
Groeneveld, Juergen
Henle, Klaus
Knogge, Christoph
Martensen, Alexandre Camargo
Metz, Markus
Metzger, Jean Paul
Ribeiro, Milton Cezar [UNESP]
Paula, Mateus Dantas de
Huth, Andreas

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Nature Publishing Group


Tropical forests play an important role in the global carbon cycle, as they store a large amount of carbon (C). Tropical forest deforestation has been identified as a major source of CO2 emissions, though biomass loss due to fragmentation-the creation of additional forest edges-has been largely overlooked as an additional CO2 source. Here, through the combination of remote sensing and knowledge on ecological processes, we present long-term carbon loss estimates due to fragmentation of Neotropical forests: within 10 years the Brazilian Atlantic Forest has lost 69 (+/- 14) Tg C, and the Amazon 599 (+/- 120) Tg C due to fragmentation alone. For all tropical forests, we estimate emissions up to 0.2 Pg Cy-1 or 9 to 24% of the annual global C loss due to deforestation. In conclusion, tropical forest fragmentation increases carbon loss and should be accounted for when attempting to understand the role of vegetation in the global carbon balance.



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Nature Communications. London: Nature Publishing Group, v. 5, 8 p., 2014.