CEF paper published in Forests highlights the role of riparian forests as carbon sinks

The riparian forests (trees and shrubs located in the river banks) of the Tagus basin store quantities of carbon comparable to the Portuguese production systems such as eucalyptus, pine f, and cork oak forests This is the main conclusion of a study developed by the researchers of ForProtect and ForEco groups: Maria Rosário Fernandes, Francisca Aguiar, Maria João Martins, Maria Teresa Ferreira, and Alexandra Correia, co-authored by Nuno Rico, published in Forests journal.

The work aimed to estimate the carbon stocks of three types of riparian trees (alder, willow and acacia ), in three compartments (tree, litterfall, and soil).

The researchers used a methodology that combined field data and remote sensing images collected by drones.

The results show that, on average, alder woodlands stored 162 tonnes of carbon per hectare (tC ha-1) although higher values were observed in areas invaded by large acacias. The study also points to a great variability in the carbon storage along the riparian gallery as a function of species density and age of the individuals. The largest carbon stocks were observed in the trees (79%) although the relative contribution of the remaining compartments varies according to the dominant species.

Remote sensing techniques applied to multispectral drone images allowed classifying and estimating the carbon stocks, according to the dominant species, throughout the entire study area.

As important carbon sinks, riparian forests are thus crucial systems to mitigate the effects of climate change and to provide a regulation ecosystem service.

Full article: www.mdpi.com/1999-4907/11/4/376/htm