Forest Restoration Carbon Analysis of Baseline Carbon Emissions and Removal in Tropical Rainforest at La Selva Central, Peru Page: 3 of 57
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Forest Restoration Carbon Analysis of Baseline Carbon Emissions and Removal in Tropical Rainforest
at La Selva Central, Peru
Conversion of tropical forest to agricultural land and pasture has reduced forest extent and the provision of ecosystem
services, including watershed protection, biodiversity conservation, and carbon sequestration. Forest conservation
and reforestation can restore those ecosystem services. We have assessed forest species patterns, quantified
deforestation and reforestation rates, and projected future baseline carbon emissions and removal in Amazon tropical
rainforest at La Selva Central, Peru. The research area is a 4800 km2 buffer zone around the Parque Nacional
Yanachaga-Chemill6n, Bosque de Protecci6n San Matias-San Carlos, and the Reserva Comunal Yanesha. A
planned project for the period 2006-2035 would conserve 4000 ha of forest in a proposed 7000 ha Area de
Conservaci6n Municipale de Chontabamba and establish 5600 ha of natural regeneration and 1400 ha of native
species plantations, laid out in fajas de enriquecimiento (contour plantings), to reforest 7000 ha of agricultural land.
Forest inventories of seven sites covering 22.6 ha in primary forest and 17 sites covering 16.5 ha in secondary forest
measured 17 073 trees of diameter 10 cm. The 24 sites host trees of 512 species, 267 genera, and 69"families. We
could not identify the family of 7% of the trees or the scientific species of 21% of the trees. Species richness is 346 in
primary forest and 257 in the secondary forest. In primary forest, 90% of aboveground biomass resides in old-growth
species. Conversely, in secondary forest, 66% of aboveground biomass rests in successional species. The density of
trees of diameter 10 cm is 366 trees ha-1 in primary forest and 533 trees ha-1 in secondary forest, although the
average diameter is 24" "15 cm in primary forest and 17 8 cm in secondary forest. Using Amazon forest biomass
equations and wood densities for 117 species, aboveground biomass is 240" "30"t"ha in the primary sites and 90
10 t ha-1 in the secondary sites. Aboveground carbon density is 120" 15 t ha-1 in primary forest and 40 5 t ha-1 in
secondary forest. Forest stands in the secondary forest sites range in age from 10"to 42 y. Growth in biomass (t ha)
as a function of time (y) follows the relation: biomass = 4.09 - 0.017 age2 (p"<"0.001). Aboveground biomass and
forest species richness are positively correlated (r2 = 0.59, p"<"0.001). Analyses of Landsat data show that the land
cover of the 3700 km2 of non-cloud areas in 1999 was: closed forest 78%; open forest 12%, low vegetation cover 4%,
sparse vegetation cover 6%. Deforestation from 1987 to 1999 claimed a net 200"km2 of forest, proceeding at a rate of
0.005"y-1. Of those areas of closed forest in 1987, only 89% remained closed forest in 1999. Consequently, closed
forests experienced disruption in the time period at double the rate of net deforestation. The three protected areas
experienced negligible deforestation or slight reforestation. Based on 1987 forest cover, 26"000 ha are eligible for
forest carbon trading under the Clean Development Mechanism, established by the Kyoto Protocol to the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Principal components analysis showed that distance to non-
forest was the factor that best explained observed patterns of deforestation while distance to forest best explained
observed patterns of reforestation, more significant than elevation, distance to rivers, distance to roads, slope, and
distance to towns of population > 400. Aboveground carbon in live vegetation in the project area decreased from
35"million 4 million t in 1987 to 34 million 4 million t in 1999. Projected aboveground carbon in live vegetation
would fall to 33 million 4 million t in 2006, 32"million millionn t in 2011, and 29 million "3 million t in 2035.
Projected net deforestation in the research area would total 13"000" 3000 ha in the period 1999-2011, proceeding at
a rate of 0.003 0.0007 y-1, and would total 33 000 7000"ha in the period 2006-2035. The proposed 7000 ha of
forest conservation could prevent gross baseline deforestation of 100 ha (min. 70 ha, max"150"ha) in the period 2006-
2035, averting baseline carbon emissions of 10"000 t (min. 6 000 t, max. 18 000 t). Projected gross reforestation in
the research area would total 8500 "1500"ha in the period 1999-2011, proceeding at a rate of 0.0012"y1
(min."0.01"y-1, max. 0.014 y-1), and would total 24 000 4000 ha in the period 2006-2035. Gross baseline
reforestation for the proposed 7000 ha of reforestation would total 2600 400 ha in the period 2006-2035,
representing a baseline removal from the atmosphere of 73"000 t carbon (min. 30 000 t, max."120"000 t). The
proposed reforestation project could sequester 230 000 t carbon (min. 140 000 t, max."310"000"t) above baseline
removal in the period 2006-2035. Through this applied research, we have developed a forest restoration carbon
analysis method that quantifies measures of success for forest conservation and projects the future carbon benefit of
the restoration of biologically significant forests.
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Gonzalez, Patrick; Kroll, Benjamin & Vargas, Carlos R. Forest Restoration Carbon Analysis of Baseline Carbon Emissions and Removal in Tropical Rainforest at La Selva Central, Peru, report, January 10, 2006; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc878328/m1/3/: accessed October 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.