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    Author(s): Yan Yang; Sassan S. Saatchi; Liang Xu; Yifan Yu; Sungho Choi; Nathan Phillips; Robert Kennedy; Michael Keller; Yuri Knyazikhin; Ranga B. Myneni
    Date: 2018
    Source: Nature Communications
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: International Institute of Tropical Forestry
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.0 MB)


    Amazon forests have experienced frequent and severe droughts in the past two decades. However, little is known about the large-scale legacy of droughts on carbon stocks and dynamics of forests. Using systematic sampling of forest structure measured by LiDAR waveforms from 2003 to 2008, here we show a significant loss of carbon over the entire Amazon basin at a rate of 0.3 ± 0.2 (95% CI) PgC yr−1 after the 2005 mega-drought, which continued persistently over the next 3 years (2005–2008). The changes in forest structure, captured by average LiDAR forest height and converted to above ground biomass carbon density, show an average loss of 2.35 ± 1.80 MgC ha−1 a year after (2006) in the epicenter of the drought. With more frequent droughts expected in future, forests of Amazon may lose their role as a robust sink of carbon, leading to a significant positive climate feedback and exacerbating warming trends.

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Yang, Yan; Saatchi, Sassan S.; Xu, Liang; Yu, Yifan; Choi, Sungho; Phillips, Nathan; Kennedy, Robert; Keller, Michael; Knyazikhin, Yuri; Myneni, Ranga B. 2018. Post-drought decline of the Amazon carbon sink. Nature Communications. 9(1): 9899-.


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    Amazon Forest, drought, LiDAR, carbon

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