Developing cost-effective field assessments of carbon stocks in human-modified tropical forests

Across the tropics, there is a growing financial investment in activities that aim to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, such as REDD+. However, most tropical countries lack on-the-ground capacity to conduct reliable and replicable assessments of forest carbon stocks, undermining their ability to secure long-term carbon finance for forest conservation programs. Clear guidance on how to reduce the monetary and time costs of field assessments of forest carbon can help tropical countries to overcome this capacity gap. Here we provide such guidance for cost-effective one-off field assessments of forest carbon stocks. We sampled a total of eight components from four different carbon pools (i.e. aboveground, dead wood, litter and soil) in 224 study plots distributed across two regions of eastern Amazon. For each component we estimated survey costs, contribution to total forest carbon stocks and sensitivity to disturbance.

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