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Nature. 2015 Mar 19;519(7543):344-8. doi: 10.1038/nature14283.

Long-term decline of the Amazon carbon sink.

Author information

1
School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.
2
1] School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK. [2] Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter EX4 4RJ, UK.
3
1] Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY, UK. [2] School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Cairns, 4870 Queenland, Australia.
4
Jardín Botánico de Missouri, Prolongacion Bolognesi Mz.e, Lote 6, Oxapampa, Pasco, Peru.
5
Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QK, UK.
6
1] School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK. [2] Department of Geography, University College London, Pearson Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK.
7
School of Anthropology and Conservation, Marlowe Building, University of Kent, Canterbury CT1 3EH, UK.
8
Servicios Ecosistemicos y Cambio Climático, Jardín Botánico de Medellín, Calle 73 no. 51 D-14, C.P. 050010, Medellín, Colombia.
9
Center for Tropical Conservation, Duke University, Box 90381, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA.
10
Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragment Project (INPA &STRI), C.P. 478, Manaus AM 69011-970, Brazil.
11
1] Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter EX4 4RJ, UK. [2] National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Av. Dos Astronautas, 1758, São José dos Campos, São Paulo 12227-010, Brazil.
12
Museo de Historia Natural Noel Kempff Mercado, Universidad Autonoma Gabriel Rene Moreno, Casilla 2489, Av. Irala 565, Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
13
Alterra, Wageningen University and Research Centre, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands.
14
UNELLEZ-Guanare, Programa de Ciencias del Agro y el Mar, Herbario Universitario (PORT), Mesa de Cavacas, Estado Portuguesa, 3350 Venezuela.
15
Biodiversiteit en Ecosysteem Dynamica, University of Amsterdam, Postbus 94248, 1090 GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
16
1] Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, UMR EcoFoG, Campus Agronomique, 97310 Kourou, French Guiana. [2] International Center for Tropical Botany, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, Florida 33199, USA.
17
Universidade Federal do Acre, Campus de Cruzeiro do Sul, Rio Branco, Brazil.
18
INRA, UMR 1137 ''Ecologie et Ecophysiologie Forestiere'' 54280 Champenoux, France.
19
Embrapa Roraima, Caixa Postal 133, Boa Vista, RR, CEP 69301-970, Brazil.
20
Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad del Cusco, Av. de la Cultura N° 733, Cusco, Peru.
21
1] School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK. [2] International Master Program of Agriculture, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung 40227, Taiwan.
22
Université Paul Sabatier CNRS, UMR 5174 Evolution et Diversité Biologique, Bâtiment 4R1, 31062 Toulouse, France.
23
Northeast Region Inventory and Monitoring Program, National Park Service, 120 Chatham Lane, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22405, USA.
24
Andes to Amazon Biodiversity Program, Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios, Peru.
25
Universidade Federal do Para, Centro de Geociencias, Belem, CEP 66017-970 Para, Brazil.
26
Universidade do Estado de Mato Grosso, Campus de Nova Xavantina, Caixa Postal 08, CEP 78.690-000, Nova Xavantina MT, Brazil.
27
Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin, SAC Room 5.150, 2201 Speedway Stop C3200, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.
28
Department of Entomology, Smithsonian Institution, PO Box 37012, MRC 187, Washington DC 20013-7012, USA.
29
Cirad, UMR Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane, Campus Agronomique, 97310 Kourou, French Guiana.
30
1] School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK. [2] Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana, Av. A. José Quiñones km 2.5, Iquitos, Peru.
31
World Wildlife Fund, 1250 24th Street NW, Washington DC 20037, USA.
32
Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science (TESS) and School of Marine and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland 4878, Australia.
33
Instituto Boliviano de Investigación Forestal, C.P. 6201, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.
34
National Institute for Research in Amazonia (INPA), C.P. 478, Manaus, Amazonas, CEP 69011-970, Brazil.
35
1] FOMABO, Manejo Forestal en las Tierras Tropicales de Bolivia, Sacta, Bolivia. [2] Escuela de Ciencias Forestales (ESFOR), Universidad Mayor de San Simón (UMSS), Sacta, Bolivia.
36
Universidad Estatal Amazónica, Facultad de Ingeniería Ambiental, Paso lateral km 2 1/2 via Napo, Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador.
37
National Institute for Research in Amazonia (INPA), C.P. 2223, 69080-971, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil.
38
Universidad Autonoma del Beni, Campus Universitario, Av. Ejército Nacional, Riberalta, Beni, Bolivia.
39
1] Instituto Boliviano de Investigación Forestal, C.P. 6201, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. [2] Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group, Wageningen University, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands.
40
1] Center for Tropical Conservation, Duke University, Box 90381, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA. [2] The Field Museum, 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496, USA.
41
Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group, Wageningen University, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands.
42
Universidad Nacional de la Amazonía Peruana, Iquitos, Loreto, Peru.
43
Instituto de Investigaciones para el Desarrollo Forestal (INDEFOR), Universidad de Los Andes, Facultad de Ciencias Forestales y Ambientales, Conjunto Forestal, C.P. 5101, Mérida, Venezuela.
44
Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development, 77 High Street Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana.
45
Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Av. Magalhães Barata, 376 - São Braz, CEP 66040-170, Belém PA, Brazil.
46
UFRA, Av. Presidente Tancredo Neves 2501, CEP 66.077-901, Belém, Pará, Brazil.
47
Museu Universitário, Universidade Federal do Acre, Rio Branco AC 69910-900, Brazil.
48
European Commission - DG Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Via Enrico Fermi 274, 21010 Ispra, Italy.
49
1] Naturalis Biodiversity Center, PO Box, 2300 RA, Leiden, The Netherlands. [2] Ecology and Biodiversity Group, Utrecht University, PO Box 80084, 3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands.
50
Museo de Historia Natural Alcide D'Orbigny, Av. Potosi no 1458, Cochabamba, Bolivia.
51
1] School of Earth and Environmental Science, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia. [2] Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science (TESS) and School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland 4878, Australia.
52
1] Northumbria University, School of Geography, Ellison Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle NE1 8ST, UK. [2] University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202, USA. [3] Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado Postal 0843-03092, Panamá, Republic of Panama.
53
Van der Hout Forestry Consulting, Jan Trooststraat 6, 3078 HP Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
54
Universidade Estadual de Campinas, NEPAM, Rua dos Flamboyants, 155- Cidade Universitária Zeferino Vaz, Campinas, CEP 13083-867, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
55
1] Universidad Autonoma del Beni, Campus Universitario, Av. Ejército Nacional, Riberalta, Beni, Bolivia. [2] Centro de Investigación y Promoción del Campesinado, regional Norte Amazónico, C/ Nicanor Gonzalo Salvatierra N° 362, Casilla 16, Riberalta, Bolivia.
56
Tropenbos International, PO Box 232, 6700 AE Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Atmospheric carbon dioxide records indicate that the land surface has acted as a strong global carbon sink over recent decades, with a substantial fraction of this sink probably located in the tropics, particularly in the Amazon. Nevertheless, it is unclear how the terrestrial carbon sink will evolve as climate and atmospheric composition continue to change. Here we analyse the historical evolution of the biomass dynamics of the Amazon rainforest over three decades using a distributed network of 321 plots. While this analysis confirms that Amazon forests have acted as a long-term net biomass sink, we find a long-term decreasing trend of carbon accumulation. Rates of net increase in above-ground biomass declined by one-third during the past decade compared to the 1990s. This is a consequence of growth rate increases levelling off recently, while biomass mortality persistently increased throughout, leading to a shortening of carbon residence times. Potential drivers for the mortality increase include greater climate variability, and feedbacks of faster growth on mortality, resulting in shortened tree longevity. The observed decline of the Amazon sink diverges markedly from the recent increase in terrestrial carbon uptake at the global scale, and is contrary to expectations based on models.

PMID:
25788097
DOI:
10.1038/nature14283
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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