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First forest inventory results presented at European Conference of Tropical Ecology, Paris, March 2018. Carbon sequestration potential of secondary forests can be a promising tool for landscape restoration.

Paúl Eguiguren1,2, Sven Günter1,2

Technische Universität München - Germany, Munich, DE
Thünen Institute of International Forestry and Forest Economics, Hamburg, DE

Tropical forest has more of 50 % of carbon stored in biomass, having a great role in the global carbon cycle, also contains a great biodiversity and provides important ecosystem services. Despite this, are heavily threatened by deforestation leading to biodiversity loss and ecosystems services (carbon). Large areas of forests have been converted to other land uses (pastures, crops). In many cases agricultural land is abandoned after few years of its conversion; therefore, natural succession processes take place. Secondary forests as result from natural succession are frequently considered to be a promising tool for restoration.

These areas are mainly the result of abandoned pastures and chakras (traditional agroforestry systems) on private or communal lands. This study aims to analyze the carbon sequestration potential of secondary forests and compare secondary forest with total carbon stocks in primary forest of the Amazon region in Ecuador.

A stratified random sampling design was used, 24 plots of 1600 m2 were established in secondary forests of different ages of succession (12 - 30 years). Additionally, 24 plots of 1600 m2 were allocated in well preserved primary forest. Analysis of variance using general mixed models and linear regression were conducted.

Our results show that secondary forest between 12 and 30 years can store around 5 Mg C ha-1 yr-1. Total carbon stocks of secondary forests reached around 153 Mg ha-1 representing almost 60 % of primary forests total carbon stocks. Our results suggest that sequestration potential of secondary forests can be a promising tool for landscape restoration in addition to strategies focusing on avoided deforestation and conservation of primary forests. Also could serve as inputs for the implementation of actions related to the mitigation of climate change and moreover in biodiversity conservation.

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