DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.14533 ISSN: 0021-8901

Planting exceptional tropical tree species to increase long‐term carbon storage in assisted secondary succession

Anna Sugiyama, Edward T. Game, S. Joseph Wright
  • Ecology


With rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations, strategies for greater carbon sequestration and long‐term storage are urgently needed. Current reforestation schemes typically use fast‐growing tree species with low wood density, limiting the amount of carbon stored. In most tropical forests, there are native species with relatively fast growth rates, high wood density and low mortality rates that also achieve large adult size—‘exceptional species’.

We present a simulated assessment of the carbon sequestration potential using these exceptional species in assisted secondary succession in the Neotropics.

In our example, the selected exceptional species could add up to 16.2 Mg C/ha of sequestered carbon in secondary wet forests at maturity.

Synthesis and applications. By increasing the representation of exceptional species in reforestation efforts, we could potentially boost long‐term carbon storage in reforestation projects focussed on carbon sequestration. However, our approach is not a substitute for protecting existing old primary forests and reforested lands plus reducing deforestation and emissions.

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