Research ArticleECOLOGY

Carbon sequestration potential of second-growth forest regeneration in the Latin American tropics

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Science Advances  13 May 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 5, e1501639
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501639
  • Fig. 1 Area and carbon distributions in SFs in the lowland Neotropics.

    (A and B) Percentages of modeled forest area (A) and AGC stock (B) in different land cover and forest age classes in 2008: cropland, pasture, forest ≤20 years (YSF), forest 20 to 60 years (MSF), forest 60 to 100 years (old SF), and forest >100 years (arbitrarily used as cutoff for OGF). (C) AGC stocks of YSFs and MSFs in 2008 (filled bars), and their net carbon sequestration from 2008 to 2048 (hatched bars). The total size of the bar indicates the total carbon stocks of those forests in 2048. Stacked bars are shown for five scenarios, where 100, 80, 60, 40, and 20% of the area are allowed to recover. The hatched yellow bar below the zero line indicates the carbon loss under these scenarios due to forest conversion to pasture or cropland in 2008, and the blue bar indicates the net sequestration potential of the different scenarios (carbon sequestration from 2008 to 2048 minus conversion-driven carbon loss in 2008). (D) Total AGC of YSFs and MSFs over the period 20082048 under different regeneration scenarios. (E) AGC of YSFs and MSFs in 2008, and their net carbon sequestration from 2008 to 2048 given 100% recovery, for each country separately. The total size of the bar indicates the total carbon stocks (AGC) of those forests in 2048. (F) Total AGC of YSFs and MSFs from 2008 to 2048 for the four countries with the largest carbon sequestration potential in naturally regenerating forests (see table S2 for more details).

  • Fig. 2 Age and carbon sequestration maps of a lowland Neotropical forest.

    (A and B) Modeled mean forest age in 2008 (A), and the total potential sequestered carbon in OGFs, 2008–2048 for all YSFs (≤20 years) and MSFs (20 to 60 years) in 2008 (B). The gray areas are areas with no data: above 1000-m altitude, savannas, rivers, lakes, OGFs, or urban areas. The biomes covered are moist and dry tropical forests.

  • Fig. 3 Potential AGC sequestration (in petagrams) for scenarios of combinations of land use over four decades (2008–2048).

    Land-use change combinations incorporate the percentage area of land allowed to regenerate following pasture abandonment (0 to 40% cessation of pasture use) and the percentage of YSF (≤20 years) and MSF (20 to 60 years) areas allowed to persist and continue regeneration (0 to 100% forest persistence). The size of the circles indicates the potential amount of carbon sequestered. Values in the cells indicate the magnitude of net carbon sequestered over 40 years (in petagrams), with all possible combinations of the two factors. These scenarios account for carbon loss due to SF clearing, which can lead to negative net carbon sequestration (red circles).

  • Table 1 Area and AGC stocks in 2008, and mean values of projected AGC sequestration over 40 years for six land cover types: YSF (≤20 years), MSF (20 to 60 years), old SF (60 to 100 years), OGF (>100 years, arbitrarily set), pasture, and crops.

    Carbon gains for old SF and OGF are not shown, because they cannot be estimated accurately. Values of net carbon assume zero deforestation of SFs.

    Land use2008Net C gain (2008–2048)
    Area (km2)AGC (Pg)AGC (Pg)
    YSF1,512,6686.97966.8402
    MSF925,9368.60281.6366
    Old SF461,5185.4407
    OGF4,043,05855.3859
    Pasture1,186,2606.17184.9925
    Crops558,3062.53562.6330
    Total8,687,74785.116316.1023

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2/5/e1501639/DC1

    fig. S1. Carbon sequestration potential during 2008–2048 for crop areas of a lowland Neotropical forest.

    fig. S2. Carbon sequestration potential during 2008–2048 for pasture areas of a lowland Neotropical forest.

    fig. S3. Carbon sequestration potential during 2008–2048 for areas of YSFs and MSFs (in 2008), crops, and pasture combined.

    table S1. Area, carbon stocks, and sequestration potential of different land cover types in lowland moist and dry tropical forest biomes.

    table S2. Area, carbon stocks, and sequestration potential of Latin American countries.

    table S3. Ranked area, carbon stocks, and sequestration potential of different land cover types in lowland moist and dry tropical forest biomes of the top 10 Latin American countries.

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • fig. S1. Carbon sequestration potential during 2008–2048 for crop areas of a lowland Neotropical forest.
    • fig. S2. Carbon sequestration potential during 2008–2048 for pasture areas of a lowland Neotropical forest.
    • fig. S3. Carbon sequestration potential during 2008–2048 for areas of YSFs and MSFs (in 2008), crops, and pasture combined.
    • table S1. Area, carbon stocks, and sequestration potential of different land cover types in lowland moist and dry tropical forest biomes.
    • table S2. Area, carbon stocks, and sequestration potential of Latin American countries.
    • table S3. Ranked area, carbon stocks, and sequestration potential of different land cover types in lowland moist and dry tropical forest biomes of the top 10 Latin American countries.

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