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Open AccessArticle

Carbon Dynamics in a Human-Modified Tropical Forest: A Case Study Using Multi-Temporal LiDAR Data

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Centre for Landscape and Climate Research, School of Geography, Geology and Environment, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
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National Centre for Earth Observation, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
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National Institute for Space Research, Remote Sensing Division, São José dos Campos SP 12245-970, Brazil
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Department of Geosciences and Geography Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), University of Helsinki, PL64, Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
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Environmental Remote Sensing Research Group, Department of Geology, Geography and the Environment, Universidad de Alcalá. Calle Colegios 2, 28801 Alcalá de Henares, Spain
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Department of Geography, School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
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Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (EMBRAPA), Centro de Pesquisa Agroflorestal da Amazônia Oriental, Belém PA 66095-903, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030430
Received: 18 December 2019 / Revised: 17 January 2020 / Accepted: 21 January 2020 / Published: 29 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Biomass and Carbon Observation with Remote Sensing)
Tropical forests hold significant amounts of carbon and play a critical role on Earth´s climate system. To date, carbon dynamics over tropical forests have been poorly assessed, especially over vast areas of the tropics that have been affected by some type of disturbance (e.g., selective logging, understory fires, and fragmentation). Understanding the multi-temporal dynamics of carbon stocks over human-modified tropical forests (HMTF) is crucial to close the carbon cycle balance in the tropics. Here, we used multi-temporal and high-spatial resolution airborne LiDAR data to quantify rates of carbon dynamics over a large patch of HMTF in eastern Amazon, Brazil. We described a robust approach to monitor changes in aboveground forest carbon stocks between 2012 and 2018. Our results showed that this particular HMTF lost 0.57 m·yr−1 in mean forest canopy height and 1.38 Mg·C·ha−1·yr−1 of forest carbon between 2012 and 2018. LiDAR-based estimates of Aboveground Carbon Density (ACD) showed progressive loss through the years, from 77.9 Mg·C·ha−1 in 2012 to 53.1 Mg·C·ha−1 in 2018, thus a decrease of 31.8%. Rates of carbon stock changes were negative for all time intervals analyzed, yielding average annual carbon loss rates of −1.34 Mg·C·ha−1·yr−1. This suggests that this HMTF is acting more as a source of carbon than a sink, having great negative implications for carbon emission scenarios in tropical forests. Although more studies of forest dynamics in HMTFs are necessary to reduce the current remaining uncertainties in the carbon cycle, our results highlight the persistent effects of carbon losses for the study area. HMTFs are likely to expand across the Amazon in the near future. The resultant carbon source conditions, directly associated with disturbances, may be essential when considering climate projections and carbon accounting methods. View Full-Text
Keywords: airborne LiDAR; Amazon forest; aboveground carbon; canopy height; forest disturbance airborne LiDAR; Amazon forest; aboveground carbon; canopy height; forest disturbance
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MDPI and ACS Style

Moura, Y.M.; Balzter, H.; Galvão, L.S.; Dalagnol, R.; Espírito-Santo, F.; Santos, E.G.; Garcia, M.; Bispo, P.C.; Oliveira, R.C.; Shimabukuro, Y.E. Carbon Dynamics in a Human-Modified Tropical Forest: A Case Study Using Multi-Temporal LiDAR Data. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 430.

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