Taking carbon in the regeneration of the Amazon forest is threatened by climate and human stress

A secondary forest in the Tapajós region of the Amazon Brazil. Credit: Ricardo Dalagnol

The Amazon has large areas of recyclable forests to help reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, limited by climate and human activity.

Forests, which naturally grow back on previously deforested land and are now derelict, are growing at different speeds. Researchers at Bristol University have found a link between slower tree growth and land previously burned by fire.

The findings were announced today [date] into Nature Communication, and suggest that these forests need better protection if they are to help reduce the effects of climate change.

Global forests are expected to contribute a quarter of a promising discount under the 2015 Paris Agreement. Many countries pledged the nationally proven (NDC) grant to reclaim and reforest millions of hectares of land to help achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement to achieve. Until recently, this included Brazil, which in 2015 pledged to restore and reforest 12 million hectares, an area roughly equivalent to the English region.

Part of this reforestation can be achieved through natural regeneration of secondary forests, which already occupy about 20% of deforestation land in the Amazon. By understanding how the environment and humans affect regeneration, they will develop estimates of climate mitigation potential in the next decade that the United Nations has “Decade of Ecological Renewal system “.

Viola Heinrich, lead author and Ph.D. A student from the School of Geography Sciences at the University of Bristol said, “Our results demonstrate the strong influence of key climate and human factors on regeneration, reinforcing the need for secondary woodland areas. protect and expand if they are to play a key role in the fight against climate change. “

Each year, secondary tropical forests, which grow on used land, can absorb carbon up to 11 times faster than old-growth forests. However, there are a number of driving factors that affect the spatial patterns of regeneration rate, such as when forest land is burned either for clearing for agriculture or when fires elsewhere have spread.

The research was led by researchers at the University of Bristol and the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and involved scientists from the Universities of Cardiff and Exeter, UK.

Taking carbon in the regeneration of the Amazon forest is threatened by climate and human stress

One-page schematic summary of the paper’s findings. Credit: Viola Heinrich

Scientists used a combination of satellite-based images that detect changes in forest cover over time to identify secondary forest areas and their age as well as satellite data that will be able to monitor the carbon above ground. , environmental factors and human activity.

They found that the effects of disturbances such as fire and deforestation diminished again before reversing the 20% to 55% recovery rate across different areas of the Amazon.

“The regeneration models we developed in this study will be useful to scientists, forest managers and policymakers, highlighting the sectors with the greatest regeneration potential,” Heinrich said.

The research team also described the contribution of Amazonian High Forests to Brazil’s net emission reduction target and found that by conserving the current area, secondary forests can contribute by 6% of Brazil’s net emissions reduction targets. However, this value rapidly decreases to less than 1% if only secondary forests older than 20 years are preserved.

In December 2020, Brazil changed its commitment (NDC) under the Paris Agreement so that the 12 million hectares of forest regeneration or elimination of illegal afforestation as promised in the NDC target are no longer mentioned. original Brazil in 2015.

Co-author Dr. Jo House, University of Bristol “The findings in our study highlight the carbon benefits of forest regeneration and the negative impact of human action if these forests are not protected. In the run-up to the 26th Conference of the Parties, this is a time when countries should raise their climate goals for the protection and regeneration of forest ecosystems, without reducing them as Brazil seems to have done. “

Co-author Dr. Luiz Aragão, National Institute for Space Research in Brazil “Across the tropics several areas could be used to recover forests to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Brazil seems to be the tropical country with the greatest potential for such a Nature-based solution, which can generate revenue for landlords, restore ecosystem services and re-established the country as a world leader in the fight against climate change. “

The team will now focus their next steps on using their techniques to estimate secondary forest regeneration across the tropics.


Despite high hopes, carbon captured by Amazon’s forest regeneration has been damaged by deforestation emissions


Presented by the University of Bristol

Citation: Carbon was adopted in the reconstruction of Amazon forest that was threatened by climate and human concern (2021, March 19) back March 19, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-03-carbon- uptake-regrowing-amazon-forest.html

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