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Disturbance and Old-Growth Amazon Forest Carbon Balance

Jeffrey Q Chambers, Tulane University, chambers@tulane.edu (Presenting)
Jeremy Fisher, Tulane University, jfisher@synapse-energy.com
Giuliano Guimar„es, INPA, gg77@ig.com.br
Vilany Carneiro, INPA, matillav@hotmail.com
Amanda Robertson, INPA, asesser@tulane.edu
George Hurtt, University of New Hampshire, george.hurtt@unh.edu
Joaquim dos Santos, INPA, joca@inpa.gov.br
Niro Higuchi, INPA, niro@inpa.gov.br

Whether or not a widespread old-growth forest carbon sink can partially or largely offset the large Amazon deforestation carbon source remains a contentious question hindered by uncertainty. The size, intensity and recurrence interval for various natural forest disturbances can play a large role in determining landscape-scale carbon balance, yet little is known about how these processes vary across the basin. This talk will overview our multifaceted approach toward addressing this question with a synthesis of field data, remote sensing image analysis, and both theoretical and ecosystem modeling approaches. First, a simple cellular model was developed to explore the effects of clumped disturbance on inventory-based estimates of forest carbon balance. Results demonstrate that the appropriate sampling strategy is highly dependent on how disturbance is distributed across the landscape, requiring a total sampled area of 4 to 20 ha to produce unbiased estimates. Next, remote sensing methods for quantifying the distribution of disturbed patches across the landscape are illustrated, demonstrating that wind-induced tree mortality exhibits extreme spatial and temporal patchiness even at the scale of entire Landsat scenes. Finally the Ecosystem Demography (ED) model parameterized for various scenarios demonstrates basin-wide impacts of changes in disturbance regimes.

Science Theme:  CD (Carbon Dynamics)

Session:  2B: Forest Dynamics and Disturbance

Presentation Type:  Oral (view presentation (8426 KB))

Abstract ID: 63

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