Refinement of IPCC default rates of aboveground net biomass change for tropical and subtropical forest

Posted Posted in Carbon sequestration, Forest management, Forest regrowth, Policy

Previous research (Feldpausch et al. 2007) by my group showed the variation in rates of carbon uptake by regrowing secondary forests. Our new research published this month refines IPCC default rates used to estimate aboveground net biomass change for tropical and subtropical forest. The results will improve estimates of forest carbon uptake for greenhouse gas accounting.

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Tropical rainstorms and a wobbly rope bridge in the cloudy treetops at the Eden Project’s new Weather Maker

Posted Posted in Education, Outreach

Visitors to the Eden Project can now trek across an aerial rope bridge, shelter from tropical rain and travel through clouds thanks to the opening of a thrilling new rainforest walkway. The Weather Maker, developed with academic support from the Met Office and University of Exeter, is the latest phase of the Rainforest Canopy Walkway and will enable everyone to explore the world’s largest indoor rainforest from the treetops. Visitors can experience how rainforests affect weather and regulate the climate and see why the conservation of the world’s rainforests is vital for all of our futures.

The Weather Maker includes a wobbly canopy rope bridge stretching 23 metres across the canopy between two of the tallest trees in the 50 metre-high biome, a fully-accessible cloud bridge where visitors can travel through swirling rainforest clouds and get a sense of how they reflect sunlight and help cool the planet, and a rain shack where visitors can shelter from a tropical rainstorm and discover how rainforests make rain.

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Drought stalls tree growth and shuts down Amazon carbon sink

Posted Posted in Carbon sequestration, Drought

A recent drought completely shut down the Amazon Basin’s carbon sink, by killing trees and slowing their growth, a ground-breaking study led by researchers at the Universities of Exeter and Leeds has found.

Previous research has suggested that the Amazon – the most extensive tropical forest on Earth and one of the “green lungs” of the planet – may be gradually losing its capacity to take carbon from the atmosphere. This new study, the most extensive land-based study of the effect of drought on Amazonian rainforests to date, paints a more complex picture, with forests responding dynamically to an increasingly variable climate.

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First direct evidence that drought-weakened Amazonian forests ‘inhale less carbon’

Posted Posted in Carbon sequestration, Drought
For the first time, an international research team, including Dr Ted Feldpausch, a tropical forest ecologist from the University of Exeter, has provided direct evidence of the rate at which individual trees in the Amazon Basin ‘inhale’ carbon from the atmosphere during a severe drought.

The team measured the growth and photosynthesis rates of trees at 13 rainforest plots across Brazil, Peru and Bolivia, comparing plots that were affected by the strong drought of 2010 with unaffected plots. They found that while growth rates of the trees in drought-affected plots were unchanged, the rate of photosynthesis – by which trees convert carbon into energy to fuel their activities – slowed down by around 10 percent over six months.

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