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Diversity and carbon storage across the tropical forest biome

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  • Martin J P Sullivan
  • Joey Talbot
  • Simon L. Lewis
  • Oliver L. Phillips
  • Lan Qie
  • Serge K. Begne
  • Jerôme Chave
  • Aida Cuni-Sanchez
  • Wannes Hubau
  • Gabriela Lopez-Gonzalez
  • Lera Miles
  • Abel Monteagudo-Mendoza
  • Bonaventure Sonké
  • Terry Sunderland
  • Hans Ter Steege
  • Lee J T White
  • Kofi Affum-Baffoe
  • Shin Ichiro Aiba
  • Everton Cristo De Almeida
  • Edmar Almeida De Oliveira
  • Patricia Alvarez-Loayza
  • Esteban Álvarez Dávila
  • Ana Andrade
  • Luiz E O C Aragão
  • Peter Ashton
  • Gerardo A. Aymard
  • Timothy R. Baker
  • Michael Balinga
  • Lindsay F. Banin
  • Christopher Baraloto
  • Jean Francois Bastin
  • Nicholas Berry
  • Jan Bogaert
  • Damien Bonal
  • Frans Bongers
  • Roel Brienen
  • José Luís C Camargo
  • Carlos Cerón
  • Victor Chama Moscoso
  • Eric Chezeaux
  • Connie J. Clark
  • Álvaro Cogollo Pacheco
  • James A. Comiskey
  • Fernando Cornejo Valverde
  • Eurídice N Honorio Coronado
  • Greta Dargie
  • Stuart J. Davies
  • Charles De Canniere
  • Marie Noel Djuikouo
  • Jean Louis Doucet
  • Terry L. Erwin
  • Javier Silva Espejo
  • Corneille E N Ewango
  • Sophie Fauset
  • Ted R. Feldpausch
  • Rafael Herrera
  • Martin Gilpin
  • Emanuel Gloor
  • Jefferson S. Hall
  • David J. Harris
  • Terese B. Hart
  • Kuswata Kartawinata
  • Lip Khoon Kho
  • Kanehiro Kitayama
  • Susan G W Laurance
  • William F. Laurance
  • Miguel E. Leal
  • Thomas Lovejoy
  • Jon C. Lovett
  • Faustin Mpanya Lukasu
  • Jean Remy Makana
  • Yadvinder Malhi
  • Leandro Maracahipes
  • Beatriz S. Marimon
  • Ben Hur Marimon Junior
  • Paulo S. Morandi
  • John Tshibamba Mukendi
  • Jaques Mukinzi
  • Reuben Nilus
  • Percy Núñez Vargas
  • Nadir C Pallqui Camacho
  • Guido Pardo
  • Marielos Peña-Claros
  • Pascal Pétronelli
  • Georgia C. Pickavance
  • Axel Dalberg Poulsen
  • John R. Poulsen
  • Richard B. Primack
  • Hari Priyadi
  • Carlos A. Quesada
  • Jan Reitsma
  • Maxime Réjou-Méchain
  • Zorayda Restrepo
  • Ervan Rutishauser
  • Kamariah Abu Salim
  • Rafael P. Salomão
  • Ismayadi Samsoedin
  • Douglas Sheil
  • Rodrigo Sierra
  • Marcos Silveira
  • J. W Ferry Slik
  • Lisa Steel
  • Hermann Taedoumg
  • Sylvester Tan
  • John W. Terborgh
  • Sean C. Thomas
  • Marisol Toledo
  • Peter M. Umunay
  • Luis Valenzuela Gamarra
  • Ima Célia Guimarães Vieira
  • Vincent A. Vos
  • Ophelia Wang
  • Simon Willcock
  • Lise Zemagho


Publication details

JournalScientific Reports
DateAccepted/In press - 26 Oct 2016
DatePublished (current) - 17 Jan 2017
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)1-12
Original languageEnglish


Tropical forests are global centres of biodiversity and carbon storage. Many tropical countries aspire to protect forest to fulfil biodiversity and climate mitigation policy targets, but the conservation strategies needed to achieve these two functions depend critically on the tropical forest tree diversity-carbon storage relationship. Assessing this relationship is challenging due to the scarcity of inventories where carbon stocks in aboveground biomass and species identifications have been simultaneously and robustly quantified. Here, we compile a unique pan-Tropical dataset of 360 plots located in structurally intact old-growth closed-canopy forest, surveyed using standardised methods, allowing a multi-scale evaluation of diversity-carbon relationships in tropical forests. Diversity-carbon relationships among all plots at 1 ha scale across the tropics are absent, and within continents are either weak (Asia) or absent (Amazonia, Africa). A weak positive relationship is detectable within 1 ha plots, indicating that diversity effects in tropical forests may be scale dependent. The absence of clear diversity-carbon relationships at scales relevant to conservation planning means that carbon-centred conservation strategies will inevitably miss many high diversity ecosystems. As tropical forests can have any combination of tree diversity and carbon stocks both require explicit consideration when optimising policies to manage tropical carbon and biodiversity.

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© The Author(s) 2017

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