AGU 2017 Poster Presentation by Anping Chen: Estimated carbon emission from recent rapid forest loss in Southeast Asia

Center for the Environment
December 14, 2017
1:40 PM - 6:00 PM
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center - Poster Hall D-F


Driven by agricultural expansion, industrial logging, oil palm and rubber plantations, and urbanization, Southeast Asia (SEA) is one of the hotspots for tropical deforestation over recent decades. The extent of the tropical SEA deforestation rate, as well as its impacts on carbon cycle and biodiversity, however, is still highly uncertain. In relevant work using high resolution global maps of the 21st-century forest cover, we find tropical SEA lost 22 million hectares, or 9%, of forest area during 2000-2014, a much higher deforestation rate than previously reported. Here we further conduct research investigating carbon emissions from tropical deforestation in SEA with satellite data of forest cover, a global tropical forest biomass map, and Earth system models. Preliminary results suggest that deforestation in SEA causes about 2.8 Tg C emissions to the atmosphere during the same period, also higher than that of previous studies. Meanwhile, carbon emission from deforestation shows high variations across different countries, topography and between the insular and maritime SEA. Indonesia and Malaysia tops in both total carbon loss and loss from per unit land area. Our results indicates that previous studies have underestimated the carbon loss due to deforestation in SEA. And until further effective forest conservation measures can be adopted, tropical SEA will continue playing a role of atmospheric carbon source in the coming decades.

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