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The persistence of carbon in the African forest understory

(2019) NATURE PLANTS. 5(2). p.133-140
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Abstract
Quantifying carbon dynamics in forests is critical for understanding their role in long-term climate regulation(1-4). Yet little is known about tree longevity in tropical forests(3,5-8), a factor that is vital for estimating carbon persistence(3,4). Here we calculate mean carbon age (the period that carbon is fixed in trees(7)) in different strata of African tropical forests using (1) growth-ring records with a unique timestamp accurately demarcating 66 years of growth in one site and (2) measurements of diameter increments from the African Tropical Rainforest Observation Network (23 sites). We find that in spite of their much smaller size, in understory trees mean carbon age (74 years) is greater than in sub-canopy (54 years) and canopy (57 years) trees and similar to carbon age in emergent trees (66 years). The remarkable carbon longevity in the understory results from slow and aperiodic growth as an adaptation to limited resource availability(9-11). Our analysis also reveals that while the understory represents a small share (11%) of the carbon stock(12,13), it contributes disproportionally to the forest carbon sink (20%). We conclude that accounting for the diversity of carbon age and carbon sequestration among different forest strata is critical for effective conservation management(14-16) and for accurate modelling of carbon cycling(4).
Keywords
TRADE-OFF, GROWTH, TREES, BIOMASS, MANAGEMENT, DROUGHT, STORAGE, TOOL

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MLA
Hubau, Wannes et al. “The Persistence of Carbon in the African Forest Understory.” NATURE PLANTS 5.2 (2019): 133–140. Print.
APA
Hubau, W., De Mil, T., Van den Bulcke, J., Phillips, O. L., Angoboy Ilondea, B., Van Acker, J., Sullivan, M. J., et al. (2019). The persistence of carbon in the African forest understory. NATURE PLANTS, 5(2), 133–140.
Chicago author-date
Hubau, Wannes, Tom De Mil, Jan Van den Bulcke, Oliver L Phillips, Bhély Angoboy Ilondea, Joris Van Acker, Martin JP Sullivan, et al. 2019. “The Persistence of Carbon in the African Forest Understory.” Nature Plants 5 (2): 133–140.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Hubau, Wannes, Tom De Mil, Jan Van den Bulcke, Oliver L Phillips, Bhély Angoboy Ilondea, Joris Van Acker, Martin JP Sullivan, Laurent Nsenga, Benjamin Toirambe, Camille Couralet, Lindsay F Banin, Serge K Begne, Timothy R Baker, Nils Bourland, Eric Chezeaux, Connie J Clark, Murray Collins, James A Comiskey, Aida Cuni-Sanchez, Victor Deklerck, Sofie Dierickx, Jean-Louis Doucet, Corneille EN Ewango, Ted R Feldpausch, Martin Gilpin, Christelle Gonmadje, Jefferson S Hall, David J Harris, Olivier J Hardy, Marie-Noel D Kamdem, Emmanuel Kasongo Yakusu, Gabriela Lopez-Gonzalez, Jean-Remy Makana, Yadvinder Malhi, Faustin M Mbayu, Sam Moore, Jacques Mukinzi, Georgia Pickavance, John R Poulsen, Jan Reitsma, Mélissa Rousseau, Bonaventure Sonké, Terry Sunderland, Hermann Taedoumg, Joey Talbot, John Tshibamba Mukendi, Peter M Umunay, Jason Vleminckx, Lee JT White, Lise Zemagho, Simon L Lewis, and Hans Beeckman. 2019. “The Persistence of Carbon in the African Forest Understory.” Nature Plants 5 (2): 133–140.
Vancouver
1.
Hubau W, De Mil T, Van den Bulcke J, Phillips OL, Angoboy Ilondea B, Van Acker J, et al. The persistence of carbon in the African forest understory. NATURE PLANTS. 2019;5(2):133–40.
IEEE
[1]
W. Hubau et al., “The persistence of carbon in the African forest understory,” NATURE PLANTS, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 133–140, 2019.
@article{8589590,
  abstract     = {Quantifying carbon dynamics in forests is critical for understanding their role in long-term climate regulation(1-4). Yet little is known about tree longevity in tropical forests(3,5-8), a factor that is vital for estimating carbon persistence(3,4). Here we calculate mean carbon age (the period that carbon is fixed in trees(7)) in different strata of African tropical forests using (1) growth-ring records with a unique timestamp accurately demarcating 66 years of growth in one site and (2) measurements of diameter increments from the African Tropical Rainforest Observation Network (23 sites). We find that in spite of their much smaller size, in understory trees mean carbon age (74 years) is greater than in sub-canopy (54 years) and canopy (57 years) trees and similar to carbon age in emergent trees (66 years). The remarkable carbon longevity in the understory results from slow and aperiodic growth as an adaptation to limited resource availability(9-11). Our analysis also reveals that while the understory represents a small share (11%) of the carbon stock(12,13), it contributes disproportionally to the forest carbon sink (20%). We conclude that accounting for the diversity of carbon age and carbon sequestration among different forest strata is critical for effective conservation management(14-16) and for accurate modelling of carbon cycling(4).},
  author       = {Hubau, Wannes and De Mil, Tom and Van den Bulcke, Jan and Phillips, Oliver L and Angoboy Ilondea, Bhély and Van Acker, Joris and Sullivan, Martin JP and Nsenga, Laurent and Toirambe, Benjamin and Couralet, Camille and Banin, Lindsay F and Begne, Serge K and Baker, Timothy R and Bourland, Nils and Chezeaux, Eric and Clark, Connie J and Collins, Murray and Comiskey, James A and Cuni-Sanchez, Aida and Deklerck, Victor and Dierickx, Sofie and Doucet, Jean-Louis and Ewango, Corneille EN and Feldpausch, Ted R and Gilpin, Martin and Gonmadje, Christelle and Hall, Jefferson S and Harris, David J and Hardy, Olivier J and Kamdem, Marie-Noel D and Kasongo Yakusu, Emmanuel and Lopez-Gonzalez, Gabriela and Makana, Jean-Remy and Malhi, Yadvinder and Mbayu, Faustin M and Moore, Sam and Mukinzi, Jacques and Pickavance, Georgia and Poulsen, John R and Reitsma, Jan and Rousseau, Mélissa and Sonké, Bonaventure and Sunderland, Terry and Taedoumg, Hermann and Talbot, Joey and Tshibamba Mukendi, John and Umunay, Peter M and Vleminckx, Jason and White, Lee JT and Zemagho, Lise and Lewis, Simon L and Beeckman, Hans},
  issn         = {2055-026X},
  journal      = {NATURE PLANTS},
  keywords     = {TRADE-OFF,GROWTH,TREES,BIOMASS,MANAGEMENT,DROUGHT,STORAGE,TOOL},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {133--140},
  title        = {The persistence of carbon in the African forest understory},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41477-018-0316-5},
  volume       = {5},
  year         = {2019},
}

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