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The Carbon Sinks and Mitigation Potential of Deodar (Cedrus deodara) Forest Ecosystem at Different Altitude in Kumrat Valley, Pakistan

DOI: 10.4236/ojf.2018.84034, PP. 553-566

Keywords: Deodar Forest, Elevation, Carbon Sinks, Mitigation Potential

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Abstract:

Forest carbon monitoring and reporting are critical for informing global climate change assessment. The regional estimates of forest carbon attached greater attention, to assess the role of forest in carbon mitigation. Here using field inventory, we examined the carbon sink and mitigation potential of monospecific Deodar forest in the Kumrat valley, of Hindu Kush Himalaya, Region of Pakistan, at a different elevation. The elevation of monospecific Deodar forest ranges from 2300 to 2700 m (a.s.l). We divided the forest into three elevation classes (that is 2300 - 2400 m (EI) 2400 - 2500 m (EII) and 2500 - 2700 m (EIII) a.s.l respectively). In each elevation class, we laid out 09 sample plots (33*33 m2) for measuring carbon values in living tree biomass (LT), soil (SC), litter, dead wood, cone (LDWC) and understory vegetation (USV). Our results showed that the carbon density at EI was 432.37 ± 277.96 Mg·C-1, while the carbon density at EII and EIII was 668.35 ± 323.94 and 1016.79 ± 542.99 Mg·C-1 respectively. Our finding revealed that the carbon mitigation potential of the forest increases with increasing elevation. Among the different elevation classes, EIII stored significantly higher carbon due to the dominance of mature, old age, larger trees, and the minimum anthropogenic disturbance, whereas EI stored statistically lower carbon because of maximum anthropogenic disturbance, which resulted in the removal of mature and over-mature trees. Furthermore, our correlation analysis between tree height and carbon stock and basal area and LT carbon, underlines that the basal area is the stronger predictor of LT carbon estimation than height. Overall our results highlight that deodar forest stored 716.94 ± 462.06 Mg?C·ha-1. However, the rehabilitation, preservation and sustainable management of disturb forest located at a lower elevation could considerably improve carbon mitigation potential.

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