Forests store more carbon after logging due to favourable climate

 

 

Study maps carbon recovery after Amazon logging

by Rodrigo de Oliveira Andrade

Speed read

  • Selective logging improves carbon absorption by remaining trees
  • Research analysed 133 forest plots in 13 sites across Amazon rainforest
  • Forests from northern sites store more after logging due to favourable climate

Trees in the northern part of the Amazon rainforest recover their capacity to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere more quickly after selective logging compared with trees in the south where the climate is less favourable, a study reports.

Published in the journal eLife last month (December 20), the research assessed the dynamics of CO2 absorption in parts of the Amazon after they had been through selective logging — a practice where only the most valuable and biggest trees are cut down and collected.

“The low-impact, selective cutting of trees is vital to limiting damage to large, unharvested trees, which are critical for forest recovery.”

William Laurance, James Cook University

The Amazon rainforest accounts for up to 30 per cent of the total CO2stored by forests globally. But every year, selective logging contributes to the release of a big part of this stored carbon, contributing to global warming.

These emissions are cancelled out in the medium term, thanks to the carbon dynamics of the forests themselves: the remaining trees — those not harvested — and young trees — which regenerate naturally after logging— assimilate atmospheric carbon again.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.