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Size and frequency of natural forest disturbances and the Amazon forest carbon balance

Espírito-Santo, Fernando D.B.; Gloor, Manuel; Keller, Michael; Malhi, Yadvinder; Saatchi, Sassan; Nelson, Bruce; Oliveira, Raimundo C., Junior; Pereira, Cleuton; Lloyd, Jon; Frolking, Steve; Palace, Michael; Shimabukuro, Yosio E.; Duarte, Valdete; Monteagudo Mendoza, Abel; López-González, Gabriela; Baker, Tim R.; Feldpausch, Ted R.; Brienen, Roel J.W.; Asner, Gregory P.; Boyd, Doreen S.; Phillips, Oliver L.

Authors

Fernando D.B. Espírito-Santo

Manuel Gloor

Michael Keller

Yadvinder Malhi

Sassan Saatchi

Bruce Nelson

Raimundo C., Junior Oliveira

Cleuton Pereira

Jon Lloyd

Steve Frolking

Michael Palace

Yosio E. Shimabukuro

Valdete Duarte

Abel Monteagudo Mendoza

Gabriela López-González

Tim R. Baker

Ted R. Feldpausch

Roel J.W. Brienen

Gregory P. Asner

DOREEN BOYD doreen.boyd@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of Earth Observation

Oliver L. Phillips



Abstract

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 ~1.28 Pg Cy-1 over the entire Amazon region. We also find that intermediate-scale disturbances account for losses of ~0.01 Pg Cy-1, and that the largest-scale disturbances as a result of blow-downs only account for losses of ~0.003 Pg Cy-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.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 18, 2014
Journal Nature Communications
Electronic ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Article Number e3434
APA6 Citation Espírito-Santo, F. D., Gloor, M., Keller, M., Malhi, Y., Saatchi, S., Nelson, B., …Phillips, O. L. (2014). Size and frequency of natural forest disturbances and the Amazon forest carbon balance. Nature Communications, 5, doi:10.1038/ncomms4434
DOI https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms4434
Publisher URL http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/140318/ncomms4434/full/ncomms4434.html
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0





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