Above-ground biomass and structure of 260 African tropical forests

Lewis, S.L.; Sonke, B.; Sunderland, T.; Begne, S.K.; Lopez-Gonzalez, G.; van der Heijden, G.M.F.; Phillips, O.L.; Affum-Baffoe, K.; Baker, T.R.; Banin, L.; Bastin, J-F.; Beeckman, H.; Boeckx, P.; Bogaert, J.; De Canniere, C.; Chezeaux, E.; Clark, C.J.; Collins, M.; Djagbletey, G.; Djuikouo, M.N.K.; Droissart, V.; Doucet, J.-L.; Ewango, C.E.N.; Fauset, S.; Feldpausch, T.R.; Foli, E.G.; Gillet, J.-F.; Hamilton, A.C.; Harris, D.J.; Hart, T.B.; de Haulleville, T.; Hladik, A.; Hufkens, K.; Huygens, D.; Jeanmart, P.; Jeffery, K.; Kearsley, E.; Leal, M. E.; Lloyd, J.; Lovett, J. C.; Makana, J.-R.; Malhi, Y.; Marshall, A. R.; Ojo, L.; Peh, K. S.- H.; Pickavance, G.; Poulsen, J. R.; Reitsma, J. M.; Sheil, D.; Simo, M.; Steppe, K.; Taedoumg, H. E.; Talbot, J.; Taplin, J. R. D.; Taylor, D.; Thomas, S. C.; Toirambe, B.; Verbeeck, H.; Vleminckx, J.; White, L. J. T.; Willcock, S.; Woell, H.; Zemagho, L.. 2013 Above-ground biomass and structure of 260 African tropical forests. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 368 (1625), 20120295.

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
N506456JA.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview


We report above-ground biomass (AGB), basal area, stem density and wood mass density estimates from 260 sample plots (mean size: 1.2 ha) in intact closed-canopy tropical forests across 12 African countries. Mean AGB is 395.7 Mg dry mass ha21 (95% CI: 14.3), substantially higher than Amazonian values, with the Congo Basin and contiguous forest region attaining AGB values (429 Mg ha21) similar to those of Bornean forests, and significantly greater than east or west African forests. AGB therefore appears generally higher in palaeo- compared with neotropical forests. However, mean stem density is low (426+11 stems ha21 greater than or equal to 100 mm diameter) compared with both Amazonian and Bornean forests (cf. approx. 600) and is the signature structural feature of African tropical forests. While spatial autocorrelation complicates analyses, AGB shows a positive relationship with rainfall in the driest nine months of the year, and an opposite association with the wettest three months of the year; a negative relationship with temperature; positive relationship with clay-rich soils; and negative relationships with C :N ratio (suggesting a positive soil phosphorus–AGB relationship), and soil fertility computed as the sum of base cations. The results indicate that AGB is mediated by both climate and soils, and suggest that the AGB of African closed-canopy tropical forests may be particularly sensitive to future precipitation and temperature changes.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 2 - Ecological Processes in the Environment > BD - 2.1 - Interactions ... structure ecosystems and their functioning
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Watt
ISSN: 0962-8436
Additional Keywords: climate, soil, wood density, Congo Basin, east Africa, west Africa
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 20 Mar 2014 09:33 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...