Forests 2013, 4(4), 1032-1054; doi:10.3390/f4041032
Article

Potential for Climate Change Mitigation in Degraded Forests: A Study from La Primavera, México

1,2,* email, 3email, 1,2email and 4email
Received: 23 September 2013; in revised form: 8 November 2013 / Accepted: 15 November 2013 / Published: 22 November 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest and Wood Vegetation Carbon Stores and Sequestration)
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Abstract: Forests contribute to climate change mitigation by removing atmospheric carbon dioxide and storing it in biomass and other carbon pools. Additionally, since appropriate forest management can reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, it is important to estimate the magnitude of these services to include them into climate policy. We used a forest inventory stratified by canopy cover in the oak-pine forest of La Primavera Biosphere Reserve in México (30,500 ha), to assess the potential provision of forest carbon services. Inventory results were used in combination with a Landsat image to estimate carbon stocks in arboreal biomass. Potential carbon removals were calculated from published allometric equations and models estimating tree growth rates, for enhancements in forested areas and for reforestation/afforestation. Carbon stocks estimated in arboreal biomass at the time of the inventory were 4.16 MtCO2eq (3.42–4.89). The potential for further carbon sequestration and enhancement could take the level of stocks up to 9.77 MtCO2eq (7.66–11.89, 95% confidence interval); previous fires have degraded carbon stocks below their natural potential. The results present a gradient of carbon stocks for different degradation levels and are consistent with national and international estimates and previous local research. The baseline for the estimation of reduced emissions is critical for assessing the overall contribution of forests to mitigate climate change. The local baseline of emissions might be around 1% according to historical data; however, when enhancements and reduced emissions are valuated together, a baseline of 3.7% is required to prevent the creation of perverse incentives favouring previously degraded areas; considering these figures for reduced emissions, the yearly carbon services provided by La Primavera, including enhancements, sequestration and reduced emissions, could be between 169.4 ktCO2eq/year (134.8–204.5) and 282.1 ktCO2eq/year (228.2–337.1), respectively. Over a period of 60 years, this would be equivalent to 2.4 and 4.1 times the magnitude of mean standing stocks at the time of the inventory. If incentive-based mechanisms are used to maintain and enhance forest carbon services and perverse incentives are to be avoided, a balanced mix of incentives and controls is needed.
Keywords: forest monitoring; forest management; carbon sequestration; carbon markets; positive incentives
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Balderas Torres, A.; Ontiveros Enríquez, R.; Skutsch, M.; Lovett, J.C. Potential for Climate Change Mitigation in Degraded Forests: A Study from La Primavera, México. Forests 2013, 4, 1032-1054.

AMA Style

Balderas Torres A, Ontiveros Enríquez R, Skutsch M, Lovett JC. Potential for Climate Change Mitigation in Degraded Forests: A Study from La Primavera, México. Forests. 2013; 4(4):1032-1054.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Balderas Torres, Arturo; Ontiveros Enríquez, Ricardo; Skutsch, Margaret; Lovett, Jon C. 2013. "Potential for Climate Change Mitigation in Degraded Forests: A Study from La Primavera, México." Forests 4, no. 4: 1032-1054.


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