Land Use Increases the Correlation between Tree Cover and Biomass Carbon Stocks in the Global Tropics

Bhan, M., Gingrich, S., Matej, S., Fritz, S. ORCID:, & Erb, K.-H. (2021). Land Use Increases the Correlation between Tree Cover and Biomass Carbon Stocks in the Global Tropics. Land 10 (11) e1217. 10.3390/land10111217.

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Tree cover (TC) and biomass carbon stocks (CS) are key parameters for characterizing vegetation and are indispensable for assessing the role of terrestrial ecosystems in the global climate system. Land use, through land cover change and land management, affects both parameters. In this study, we quantify the empirical relationship between TC and CS and demonstrate the impacts of land use by combining spatially explicit estimates of TC and CS in actual and potential vegetation (i.e., in the hypothetical absence of land use) across the global tropics (~23.4° N to 23.4° S). We find that land use strongly alters both TC and CS, with stronger effects on CS than on TC across tropical biomes, especially in tropical moist forests. In comparison to the TC-CS correlation observed in the potential vegetation (biome-level R based on tropical ecozones = 0.56–0.90), land use strongly increases this correlation (biome-level R based on tropical ecozones = 0.87–0.94) in the actual vegetation. Increased correlations are not only the effects of land cover change. We additionally identify land management impacts in closed forests, which cause CS reductions. Our large-scale assessment of the TC-CS relationship can inform upcoming remote sensing efforts to map ecosystem structure in high spatio-temporal detail and highlights the need for an explicit focus on land management impacts in the tropics

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: tree cover; biomass carbon stocks; land use change; tropical ecosystems; ecosystem change
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability (NODES)
Strategic Initiatives (SI)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2021 07:54
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 05:01

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