Persistent collapse of biomass in Amazonian forest edges following deforestation leads to unaccounted carbon losses

Published in Science Advances
Authors

Celso H. L. Silva Junior, Luiz E. O. C. Aragão, Liana O. Anderson, Marisa G. Fonseca, Yosio E. Shimabukuro, Christelle Vancutsem, Frédéric Achard, René Beuchle, Izaya Numata, Carlos A. Silva, Eduardo E. Maeda, Marcos Longo and Sassan S. Saatchi

Publication year 2020
DOI https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aaz8360
Affiliations
  1. Celso H. L. Silva Junior1,2,
  2. Luiz E. O. C. Aragão1,2,3
  3. Liana O. Anderson1,4
  4. Marisa G. Fonseca1,2,5
  5. Yosio E. Shimabukuro1,2
  6. Christelle Vancutsem6
  7. Frédéric Achard6
  8. René Beuchle6
  9. Izaya Numata7
  10. Carlos A. Silva8
  11. Eduardo E. Maeda9
  12. Marcos Longo10 and 
  13. Sassan S. Saatchi10,11
  1. Tropical Ecosystems and Environmental Sciences Laboratory, São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil.
  2. Remote Sensing Division, National Institute for Space Research, São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil.
  3. Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.
  4. National Center for Monitoring and Early Warning of Natural Disasters, São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil.
  5. Veraterra&ndashMapping and Environmental Consultancy, Praça Pedro Gomes, s/n, Serra Grande, Uruçuca, BA 45680-000 Brazil.
  6. European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), 21027 Ispra, Italy.
  7. Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, USA.
  8. School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.
  9. Department of Geosciences and Geography, Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
  10. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA.
  11. Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA.
  1. &crarrCorresponding author. Email: celsohlsj@gmail.com
IAI Program

SGP-HW

IAI Project SGP-HW016
Keywords

Abstract

Deforestation is the primary driver of carbon losses in tropical forests, but it does not operate alone. Forest fragmentation, a resulting feature of the deforestation process, promotes indirect carbon losses induced by edge effect. This process is not implicitly considered by policies for reducing carbon emissions in the tropics. Here, we used a remote sensing approach to estimate carbon losses driven by edge effect in Amazonia over the 2001 to 2015 period. We found that carbon losses associated with edge effect (947 Tg C) corresponded to one-third of losses from deforestation (2592 Tg C). Despite a notable negative trend of 7 Tg C year&minus1 in carbon losses from deforestation, the carbon losses from edge effect remained unchanged, with an average of 63 ± 8 Tg C year&minus1. Carbon losses caused by edge effect is thus an additional unquantified flux that can counteract carbon emissions avoided by reducing deforestation, compromising the Paris Agreement&rsquos bold targets.