Tropical Deforestation, Forest Degradation and REDD+

Authored by: John A. Parrotta

Routledge Handbook of Forest Ecology

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415735452
eBook ISBN: 9781315818290
Adobe ISBN: 9781317816447


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Forests today cover an estimated 31 percent of Earth’s land surface (4.03 billion hectares), of which 93 percent are natural forest and 7 percent are planted (FAO, 2010). They contain a substantial proportion of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity (SCBD, 2010) and play a major role in the global carbon cycle, removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere (carbon sequestration) and storing carbon for extended periods of time in biomass, dead organic matter and soil carbon pools. Of the global forest carbon stocks (including soils to 1 m depth), an estimated 55 percent (471 Pg C) is stored in tropical and subtropical forests, of which more than half is stored in biomass (Pan et al., 2011). Between 1990 and 2007, forests globally were estimated to have contributed a net sink of 1.1 Pg C yr−1. The absorption of atmospheric carbon by intact forests in tropical and subtropical regions was 1.2 Pg C yr−1, but this was offset by net emissions of 1.3 Pg C yr−1 resulting from land-use changes, i.e., deforestation and clearing emissions minus storage in regrowth (secondary and planted) forests (Pan et al., 2011).

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