Degradation in carbon stocks near tropical forest edges

Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, Ivan Ramler, Richard Sharp, Nick M. Haddad, James S. Gerber, Paul C. West, Lisa Mandle, Peder Engstrom, Alessandro Baccini, Sarah Sim, Carina Mueller, Henry King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Carbon stock estimates based on land cover type are critical for informing climate change assessment and landscape management, but field and theoretical evidence indicates that forest fragmentation reduces the amount of carbon stored at forest edges. Here, using remotely sensed pantropical biomass and land cover data sets, we estimate that biomass within the first 500 m of the forest edge is on average 25% lower than in forest interiors and that reductions of 10% extend to 1.5 km from the forest edge. These findings suggest that IPCC Tier 1 methods overestimate carbon stocks in tropical forests by nearly 10%. Proper accounting for degradation at forest edges will inform better landscape and forest management and policies, as well as the assessment of carbon stocks at landscape and national levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10158
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Dec 18 2015


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