In this talk Dr. Viola Heinrich discusses how tropical forests play a key role in climate change mitigation. Recovering, degraded and secondary forests are becoming more dominant in tropical landscapes and yet large uncertainties exist regarding their carbon sink and storage. Starting in the Brazilian Amazon, this talk explores how a variety of satellite datasets can be used to improve the spatial representation of the carbon sink in recovering forests. By combining satellite-based datasets of secondary forest age and aboveground carbon, she explains how the carbon accumulation can be modelled according to different environmental variables and disturbances. These disturbances were found to drive spatially distinct regrowth patterns, with repeated anthropogenic disturbances reducing regrowth by up to 55%. Expanding this approach across the major tropical regions, the second half of the talk introduces the regional carbon recovery in degraded and secondary forests across the Amazon, Central Africa, and Borneo. Between 1984 and 2018 recovering forests offset a quarter of carbon emissions from tropical forest loss, indicating the mitigation potential of protecting them, alongside old-growth forest conservation.
The Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery is interested in promoting a wide variety of views and opinions on nature recovery from researchers and practitioners. The views, opinions and positions expressed within this lecture are those of the author alone, they do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery, or its researchers.