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    Author(s): F.D.B. Espirito-Santo; M. Gloor; M. Keller; Y. Malhi; S. Saatchi; B. Nelson; R.C. Oliveira Junior; C. Pereira; J. Lloyd; S. Frolking; M. Palace; Y.E. Shimabukuro; V. Duarte; A. Monteagudo Mendoza; G. Lopez-Gonzalez; T.R. Baker; T.R. Feldpausch; R.J.W. Brienen; G.P. Asner; D.S. Boyd; O.L. Phillips
    Date: 2014
    Source: Nature Communications. 5:1-6
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: International Institute of Tropical Forestry
    PDF: View PDF  (1.36 MB)


    Forest inventory studies in the Amazon indicate a large terrestrial carbon sink. However, field plots may fail to represent forest mortality processes at landscape-scales of tropical forests. Here we characterize the frequency distribution of disturbance events in natural forests from 0.01 ha to 2,651 ha size throughout Amazonia using a novel combination of forest inventory, airborne lidar and satellite remote sensing data. We find that small-scale mortality events are responsible for aboveground biomass losses of ~1.7 Pg C y−1 over the entire Amazon region. We also find that intermediate-scale disturbances account for losses of ~0.2 Pg C y−1, and that the largest-scale disturbances as a result of blow-downs only account for losses of ~0.004 Pg C y−1. Simulation of growth and mortality indicates that even when all carbon losses from intermediate and large-scale disturbances are considered, these are outweighed by the net biomass accumulation by tree growth, supporting the inference of an Amazon carbon sink.

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    Espirito-Santo, F.D.B.; Gloor, M.; Keller, M.; Malhi, Y.; Saatchi, S.; Nelson, B.; Oliveira Junior, R.C.; Pereira, C.;Lloyd, J.; Frolking, S.; Palace, M.; Shimabukuro, Y.E.; Duarte, V.; Monteagudo Mendoza, A.; Lopez-Gonzalez, G.; Baker, T.R.; Feldpausch, T.R.; Brienen, R.J.W.; Asner, G.P.; Boyd, D.S.; Phillips, O.L. 2014. Size and frequency of natural forest disturbances and the Amazon forest carbon balance. Nature Communications. 5:1-6.


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    carbon, tropical forests, Brazil, Amazon, carbon sink, disturbance

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