An assessment of the relation between carbon storage and biodiversity in the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve (DR Congo): the potential for biodiversity conservation in carbon conservation programs. 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

Anthropogenic climate change represents a major threat to biodiversity as well as to human wellbeing. Climate change mitigation strategies such as the UN-REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) program aim at protecting and enhancing biosphere carbon (C) stocks, by conserving tropical rainforest systems. However, when forests are protected for their C stock, will the biodiversity (BD) be conserved as well? Components of forest BD may overlap to different degrees, trade off with, or be largely independent from those that intervene in C storage potential. Studies on the spatial congruence of C and BD find no consistent relationship. We argue this is probably due to the large scale analysis and the use of few BD parameters. In this project we will look into the relation between BD and C on a fine scale using data from in the Central Congo basin, an understudied region. The C stock and several species groups were sampled in up to 21 plots in the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve (YBR, DR Congo). We will first describe 'biodiversity', a fundamentally undefined term, with a set of BD parameters. Further, we will investigate the relationship between C and BD at both the level of the 21 study plots and, using spatial extrapolation, across the YBR as a whole. Lastly, we will assess the effect of several C conservation strategies on BD and test if it is possible to maximise both C and BD conservation.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

An assessment of the relation between carbon storage and biodiversity in lowland rainforest in DR Congo 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

Anthropogenic climate change represents a major threat to biodiversity as well as to human wellbeing. Climate change mitigation strategies such as the UN-REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) program aim at protecting and enhancing biosphere carbon (C) stocks, by conserving tropical rainforest systems. However, when forests are protected for their C stock, will the biodiversity (BD) be conserved as well? Components of forest BD may overlap to different degrees, trade off with, or be largely independent from those that intervene in C storage potential. Studies on the spatial congruence of C and BD find no consistent relationship. We argue this is probably due to the large scale analysis and the use of few BD parameters. In this project we will look into the relation between BD and C on a fine scale using data from in the Central Congo basin, an understudied region. The C stock and several species groups were sampled in up to 21 plots in the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve (YBR, DR Congo). We will first describe 'biodiversity', a fundamentally undefined term, with a set of BD parameters. Further, we will investigate the relationship between C and BD at both the level of the 21 study plots and, using spatial extrapolation, across the YBR as a whole. Lastly, we will assess the effect of several C conservation strategies on BD and test if it is possible to maximise both C and BD conservation.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)