Research ArticleECOLOGY

The carbon sink of tropical seasonal forests in southeastern Brazil can be under threat

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Science Advances  18 Dec 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 51, eabd4548
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd4548

Abstract

Tropical forests have played an important role as a carbon sink over time. However, the carbon dynamics of Brazilian non-Amazon tropical forests are still not well understood. Here, we used data from 32 tropical seasonal forest sites, monitored from 1987 to 2020 (mean site monitoring length, ~15 years) to investigate their long-term trends in carbon stocks and sinks. Our results highlight a long-term decline in the net carbon sink (0.13 Mg C ha−1 year−1) caused by decreasing carbon gains (2.6% by year) and increasing carbon losses (3.4% by year). The driest and warmest sites are experiencing the most severe carbon sink decline and have already moved from carbon sinks to carbon sources. Because of the importance of the terrestrial carbon sink for the global climate, policies are needed to mitigate the emission of greenhouse gases and to restore and protect tropical seasonal forests.

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