Time-series maps of aboveground carbon stocks in the forests of central Sumatra

Carbon Balance Manag. 2015 Sep 17;10:23. doi: 10.1186/s13021-015-0034-5. eCollection 2015 Dec.


Background: Efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in tropical Asia require accurate high-resolution mapping of forest carbon stocks and predictions of their likely future variation. Here we combine radar and LiDAR with field measurements to create a high-resolution aboveground forest carbon stock (AFCS) map and use spatial modeling to present probable future AFCS changes for the Riau province of central Sumatra.

Results: Our map provides spatially explicit estimates of the AFCS with an accuracy of ±23.5 Mg C ha-1. According to this map, the natural forests in the province currently store 265 million Mg C, with a density of 72 Mg C ha-1, as aboveground biomass. Using a spatially explicit modeling technique we derived time-series AFCS maps up to the year 2030 under three forest policy scenarios: business as usual, conservation, and concession. The spatial patterns of AFCS and their trends under different scenarios vary on a local scale, and some areas are highlighted that are at eminent risk of carbon emission. Based on the business as usual scenario, the current AFCS could decrease by 75 %, which may lead to the release of 747 million Mg CO2. The other two scenarios, conservation and concession, suggest the risk reductions by 11 and 59 %, respectively.

Conclusion: The time-series AFCS maps provide spatially explicit scenarios of changes in AFCS. These data may aid in planning Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries projects in the study area, and stimulate the development of AFCS maps for other regions of tropical Asia.

Keywords: AFCS; Aboveground biomass; Deforestation; Forest carbon; PALSAR; REDD+; Riau.