Researchers from INRA, CEA, CNRS, CNES and colleagues in China, several universities in Europe and the US have succeeded in quantifying how carbon stocks of vegetation biomass in the tropics change over time. The main finding is that these stocks remain almost constant – with gains in biomass carbon stocks in some regions being offset by losses from deforestation or diebacks linked to climate impacts (in particular the El Niño events) in others.
The result is that above-ground biomass in the tropics, which used to be a carbon sink, is becoming neutral. More serious still, tropical regions could even become carbon sources for the atmosphere in the near future, thus enhancing global warming. The results are published in Nature Plants.
The French members of the team are led by Jean-Pierre Wigneron of the Joint Research Unit for Soil Plant Atmosphere Interactions (INRA, Bordeaux Sciences Agro) and Philippe Ciais of the Laboratory for Climate and Environment Sciences (LSCE, UVSQ/CNRS/CEA).
Read the research paper: Satellite-observed pantropical carbon dynamics. Lei Fan, Jean-Pierre Wigneron, Philippe Ciais, Jérôme Chave, Martin Brandt, Rasmus Fensholt, Sassan S. Saatchi, Ana Bastos, Amen Al-Yaari, Koen Hufkens, Yuanwei Qin, Xiangming Xiao, Chi Chen, Ranga B. Myneni, Roberto Fernandez-Moran, Arnaud Mialon, N. J. Rodriguez-Fernandez, Yann Kerr, Feng Tian, Josep Peñuelas. Nature Plants