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Simulating carbon stocks and fluxes of an African tropical montane forest with an individual-based forest model.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2015
Author Fischer Rico, Ensslin Andreas, Rutten Gemma, Fischer Markus, Schellenberger Costa David, Kleyer Michael, Hemp Andreas, Paulick Sebastian, Huth Andreas,
Project SP4: Plant diversity and performance in relation to climate and land use: communities, species, populations, ecological genetics
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal PloS one
Volume (Issue) 10(4)
Page(s) 0123300 - 0123300
Title of proceedings PloS one
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0123300

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Tropical forests are carbon-dense and highly productive ecosystems. Consequently, they play an important role in the global carbon cycle. In the present study we used an individual-based forest model (FORMIND) to analyze the carbon balances of a tropical forest. The main processes of this model are tree growth, mortality, regeneration, and competition. Model parameters were calibrated using forest inventory data from a tropical forest at Mt. Kilimanjaro. The simulation results showed that the model successfully reproduces important characteristics of tropical forests (aboveground biomass, stem size distribution and leaf area index). The estimated aboveground biomass (385 t/ha) is comparable to biomass values in the Amazon and other tropical forests in Africa. The simulated forest reveals a gross primary production of 24 tcha(-1) yr(-1). Modeling above- and belowground carbon stocks, we analyzed the carbon balance of the investigated tropical forest. The simulated carbon balance of this old-growth forest is zero on average. This study provides an example of how forest models can be used in combination with forest inventory data to investigate forest structure and local carbon balances.