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How to improve measures regarding carbon stocks in tropical forests? [Jérôme Chave]

Tropical forests are known to host a huge variety of plant and animal species, thus constituting one of the largest reservoirs of biodiversity on our planet. They also play a key role in the carbon cycle and their destruction could therefore have a significant impact on the climate of our planet.

An international program (REDD project : Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) was established to encourage the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, in order to sustain their use. To help with this process, it has been proposed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to attempt to reduce the impact of deforestation by rewarding countries that are committed to regulate it. To include tropical forests in a “carbon market”, however, goes through the problem of measuring carbon stocks in these complex ecosystems. In an article published in Global Change Biology on June 21st, 2014, Jerome Chave, from the Evolution and Biological Diversity laboratory of Toulouse (University Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier / CNRS / ENFA) and associates from twelve countries have developed models to estimate biomass stocks in tropical trees. Tested over 4000 trees in 58 tropical forest sites, these models will allow to produce accurate estimates of biomass stocks in inventory plots already implemented by forestry institutions as part of REDD projects. Combined with future satellite measurements (particularly with the BIOMASS satellite which will be launched in 2020 by the European Space Agency), it will be possible to follow the evolution of carbon stocks in tropicalforests on a global scale, and therefore, to protect them more effectively.

 

Maderacre, Peru's lumber company © Rosa Goodmann, University of Leeds, UK

Maderacre, Peru’s lumber company © Rosa Goodmann, University of Leeds, UK

 

Reference :

“Improved allometric models to estimate the aboveground biomass of tropical trees”, Jérome Chave et al., Global Change Biology, 21 june 2014

 

Researcher contact :

Jérôme Chave
Evolution and Biological Diversity laboratory (EDB) – CNRS / Toulouse III Paul Sabatier University / ENFA
Tel. : 05 61 55 67 60 / Mail. : jerome.chave@univ-tlse3.fr