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Open AccessArticle

Assessing Earthquake-Induced Tree Mortality in Temperate Forest Ecosystems: A Case Study from Wenchuan, China

1
Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China
2
Key Laboratory of Mountain Ecological Restoration and Bioresource Utilization & Ecological Restoration Biodiversity Conservation Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China
3
Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S3B3, Canada
4
Department of Environmental Studies, University of Redlands, Redlands, CA 92373, USA
5
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Earth Sciences Division, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Giles M. Foody, Parth Sarathi Roy and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(3), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs8030252
Received: 14 December 2015 / Revised: 25 February 2016 / Accepted: 11 March 2016 / Published: 17 March 2016
Earthquakes can produce significant tree mortality, and consequently affect regional carbon dynamics. Unfortunately, detailed studies quantifying the influence of earthquake on forest mortality are currently rare. The committed forest biomass carbon loss associated with the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in China is assessed by a synthetic approach in this study that integrated field investigation, remote sensing analysis, empirical models and Monte Carlo simulation. The newly developed approach significantly improved the forest disturbance evaluation by quantitatively defining the earthquake impact boundary and detailed field survey to validate the mortality models. Based on our approach, a total biomass carbon of 10.9 Tg∙C was lost in Wenchuan earthquake, which offset 0.23% of the living biomass carbon stock in Chinese forests. Tree mortality was highly clustered at epicenter, and declined rapidly with distance away from the fault zone. It is suggested that earthquakes represent a significant driver to forest carbon dynamics, and the earthquake-induced biomass carbon loss should be included in estimating forest carbon budgets. View Full-Text
Keywords: synthetic approach; earthquake; remote sensing; forest mortality; biomass carbon loss synthetic approach; earthquake; remote sensing; forest mortality; biomass carbon loss
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zeng, H.; Lu, T.; Jenkins, H.; Negrón-Juárez, R.I.; Xu, J. Assessing Earthquake-Induced Tree Mortality in Temperate Forest Ecosystems: A Case Study from Wenchuan, China. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 252.

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