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The future of the tropical forest carbon sink

Objective

Problems to be solved
The Amazonian carbon sink exerts a key influence on the global carbon cycle but the sink strength is not very well known. Any changes in the Amazonian sink strength of carbon resulting from changes in climate or land -use will have a significant impact on global climate and are therefore of direct relevance to the formulation of global and European environmental and climate policies.
Scientific objectives and approach
The overarching objective of the project is to examine the parameters and mechanism that determine the magnitude and the behaviour of the Amazonian forest carbon sink and to provide improved estimates of the rate carbon sequestration by forest and savannah at a number of sites across the Amazon Basin. The second aim is to advance understanding of the mechanisms of carbon fixation and how this may be constrained by climate variability, availability of nutrients, and changing rates of N deposition. The final goal is to provide estimates of the current and future behaviour of the carbon sink of the Amazon region and disseminate these results to stakeholders. The first package studies climatic controls on the carbon cycle by determining how variations in climate at seasonal and inter-annual time scales, including ENSO events, control fluxes and sequestration rates of carbon. Flux measurements will be carried out at six field sites in different forest types and savannah. The second package studies carbon uptake and release processes to quantify the fate of assimilated carbon. The future of the carbon sink may well be related to the availability of nutrients and soil moisture. The factors, which control the carbon fluxes and carbon pools, will be studied in packages 3 and 4, respectively. Complementary to these measurements long-term historical trends in the forests biomass will be studied by recent using 41 forest plots along an 2500 km E-W transect and by tree ring analysis. The data collected will be used to develop and calibrate models and develop aggregation techniques. This will allow us to model the basin-wide carbon fluxes for different scenarios to study land use and climate change effects on the carbon sink.
Expected impacts
The project will examine controls that determine the magnitude and behaviour of the Amazonian rainforest carbon sink, provide improved estimates of the current rate of carbon sequestration by forest and savannah, and predict likely future behaviour and implications of the sink for global and European carbon management policies.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

ALTERRA B.V.
Address
Droevendaalsesteeg 3A
6700 AA Wageningen
Netherlands

Participants (12)

GEORG-AUGUST-UNIVERSITY GOETTINGEN
Germany
Address
Buesgenweg, 2
37077 Goettingen
INSTITUTO SUPERIOR DE AGRONOMIA
Portugal
Address
Tapada Da Ajuda
1349-017 Lisboa
MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN E.V.
Germany
Address
August-thienemannstraße 2
24302 Ploen
MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN E.V.
Germany
Address
Carl-zeiss-promenade 10
07701 Jena
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT
Netherlands
Address
9,Antonie Van Leeuwenhoeklaan 9
3720 BA Bilthoven
NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL
United Kingdom
Address
Maclean Building, Crowmarsh Gifford
OX10 8BB Wallingford
OFFICE NATIONAL DES FORÊTS
France
Address
Avenue De Saint-mandé 2
75570 Paris
ONF - BRASIL LTDA
Brazil
Address
Fazenda Sao Nicalao
78330000 Cotriguacu
THE EDINBURGH CENTRE FOR CARBON MANAGEMENT
United Kingdom
Address
Liberton Brae 18, Tower Mains Studios, Unit 2
EH16 6AE Edinburgh
UNIVERSIT DEGLI STUDI DELLA TUSCIA
Italy
Address
Via S. Camillo De Lellis
01100 Viterbo
UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
United Kingdom
Address
Darwin Building, King's Building, Mayfield Road
EH9 3JG Edinburgh
UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS.
United Kingdom
Address
Woodhouse Lane
Leeds