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Environmental Science: Estimating Carbon Stocks in Dryland Trees in Africa | Nature | Nature’s portfolio

Research press release


March 2, 2023

Environmental Science: Estimating the Carbon Stocks of Trees in African Drylands

A study of trees (about 10 billion trees) in semi-arid sub-Saharan Africa provides detailed estimates of carbon stocks in this ecosystem, according to the paper.natureTo be published in The Data, compiled from more than 300,000 satellite images, will help advance our understanding of the carbon cycle and provide useful information for scientists, policy makers, dryland reformers and farmers. It can be a resource.

Trees provide various benefits to the ecosystem. For example, they provide sanctuary for animals, provide food for animals, contribute to the economy, and play an important role in the carbon cycle and climate system. These roles are particularly important in dryland ecosystems. Detailed data on dryland trees is important and scarce for efforts such as climate change mitigation, carbon accounting, and ecosystem protection and restoration.

In this study, Compton-Tucker and colleagues address this record gap, assessing more than 9.9 billion trees on nearly 10 million square kilometers of land in arid semi-desert and tropical northern Africa. A machine learning approach was used to scan high-resolution satellite images (326,523 points) to identify and map individual trees. As a result, they were able to estimate the amount of carbon stored in the leaves, wood and roots of individual trees. Carbon stock estimates are for the extreme arid (0-150 mm annual precipitation), dry (150-300 mm annual precipitation), semi-arid (300-600 mm annual precipitation), and dry semi-humid regions. (600-1000) mm annual precipitation). The average carbon stock for the tree was 51 kg C in the highly arid regions, 63 kg C in the dry regions, 72 kg C in the semi-arid regions, and 98 kg C in the semi-humid regions. Many previous studies have used different models to estimate carbon stocks in trees in the same target areas, but most of them overestimated the results.

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doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-05653-6

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