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Forests 2018, 9(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9010018

The Carbon Dynamics of Dry Tropical Afromontane Forest Ecosystems in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia

1
Institute of Silviculture, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Peter-Jordan-Straße 82, 1190 Vienna, Austria
2
Amhara Regional Agricultural Research Institute, P.O. Box 527, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
3
College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Bahir Dar University, P.O. Box 79, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 November 2017 / Revised: 20 December 2017 / Accepted: 28 December 2017 / Published: 4 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Inventory, Quantitative Methods and Remote Sensing)
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Abstract

Forest degradation due to land use change is a severe problem in Ethiopian Afromontane Forests. We investigated such degradation effects by comparing degraded agricultural land (previously covered with forest) with neighboring natural forests, 40 to 50 years after conversion. We selected four different study areas to cover the eco-climatic conditions of the Amhara region in Northwestern Ethiopia. For a paired-stand comparison we collected soil data on both land use types. We calculated forest biomass to evaluate the biogeochemical-mechanistic ecosystem model Biome-BGC, which is used as a diagnostic tool to assess the site and management impacts on productivity as well as ecosystem carbon and nitrogen accumulation. We applied Biome-BGC to assess rehabilitation options on such degraded land. Afromontane forests in the highlands of Ethiopia showed high soil C stocks, resulting from long lasting biomass accumulation. Removing the tree cover and converting forest areas to crop- or grassland, has led to a loss of 40–85% of the soil C stocks and thus a loss in soil fertility within only 40 to 50 years. Rehabilitation efforts by replanting trees will improve soil fertility, but may require over a thousand years to achieve a similar level in biomass and soil fertility versus the situation prior to the land use change. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon; land use change; Ethiopia; ecosystem modeling carbon; land use change; Ethiopia; ecosystem modeling
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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. (CC BY 4.0).
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Belay, B.; Pötzelsberger, E.; Sisay, K.; Assefa, D.; Hasenauer, H. The Carbon Dynamics of Dry Tropical Afromontane Forest Ecosystems in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia. Forests 2018, 9, 18.

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