Did you know that the African mountain forests can store more carbon per hectare than even the greatest Amazon? Unfortunately, the forests don’t receive nearly as much attention as the Amazon.
A recent study found that Africa seems to have some peculiar trees, unlike any other region. Usually, the climate in the mountains should slow tree growth, leading to low-carbon forests. So, how’s that possible?
Curious to find out more?
African Forests Emit Over 450 Million Tons of CO2
Researchers found that many trees in Africa grow over 70 centimeters in diameter even under severe mountainous conditions. As per new calculations, the forests emit more than 450 million tons of CO2 in the atmosphere. How’s that possible?
In a recent study, researchers examined old-growth forests in 44 mountain sites across a few African countries. What they found is genuinely intriguing: a carbon-storing potential of 150 tons/ hectare – that’s around two-thirds more than previously thought.
That shows that the higher altitude doesn’t affect Africa’s forests’ carbon storage and structure about as much as other areas in the world. However, the differences weren’t related to elevation.
“It is possible that in Africa, the presence of large herbivores such as elephants plays an important role in mountain forest ecology, as these large animals disperse seeds and nutrients, and eat small trees creating space for others to grow larger,” explains Aida Cuni-Sanchez, a tropical forest ecologist from the University of York in the UK and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
The Bonn Challenge
There are now 14 African nations enrolled in the Bonn Challenge, which aims to restore 350 million hectares of deforested land by 2030.
The Goal: combat biodiversity loss, climate change, and local poverty.
The new data indicate that we must preserve low and high forests across the continent to reach that challenging goal. Currently, the old-growth forests are cut down for mining, logging, farming activities, and political unrest.