High aboveground carbon stock of African tropical montane forests

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Online seminar followed by Q&A – all welcome. NB – all times given in UK time.

Tropical montane forests are unique forest systems. Lower temperatures, cloudiness, wind and waterlogged soils affect tree composition and forest structure, and therefore, aboveground live tree biomass carbon (AGC) stocks. But little was known about these forests in Africa. Aida’s team assembled and analysed a new dataset (AfriMont) spanning 44 montane sites in 12 African countries. They found a mean AGC stock of 150 Mg C per hectare: similar to lowland tropical forests in Africa. Aida will discuss potential drivers of this high carbon storage, and the implications of the findings for policy, as this carbon store is highly endangered: we estimated that 0.8 million hectares of old-growth African montane forest have been lost since 2000.

Dr Aida Cuni-Sanchez is an Assistant Professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and an honorary fellow at the University of York. She has a PhD in environmental Sciences from the University of Southampton (UK) and a Licenciatura in Biology from the University of Barcelona (Spain). She has over 10 years of work experience in 12 countries in tropical Africa, where she has focused on tropical forest ecology, carbon stocks, forest use by local communities and local communities’ adaptation to climate change. She received the 2020 L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science UK Award for Sustainable Development and the 2021 Talent Program Award at NMBU. As well as developing the AfriMont plot network, she is a key partner in research collaborations in Africa including AfriTRON (tropical lowland forest monitoring), Mountain Research Initiative, Mountain Sentinels and ATBC-Africa Chapter.