Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.3390/app11104696
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) The long-term consequences of forest fires on the carbon fluxes of a tropical forest in Africa
Author Fischer, R. ORCID logo
Source Titel Applied Sciences
Year 2021
Department OESA
Volume 11
Issue 10
Page From art. 4696
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Keywords tropical forest; fire; forest model; Africa; carbon
Abstract Tropical forests are an important component of the global carbon cycle, as they store large amounts of carbon. In some tropical regions, the forests are increasingly influenced by disturbances such as fires, which lead to structural changes but also alter species composition, forest succession, and carbon balance. However, the long-term consequences on forest functioning are difficult to assess. The majority of all global forest fires are found in Africa. In this study, a forest model was extended by a fire model to investigate the long-term effects of forest fires on biomass, carbon fluxes, and species composition of tropical forests at Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania). According to this modeling study, forest biomass was reduced by 46% by fires and even by 80% when fires reoccur. Forest regeneration lasted more than 100 years to recover to pre-fire state. Productivity and respiration were up to 4 times higher after the fire than before the fire, which was mainly due to pioneer species in the regeneration phase. Considering the full carbon balance of the regrowing forest, it takes more than 150 years to compensate for the carbon emissions caused by the forest fire. However, functional diversity increases after a fire, as fire-tolerant tree species and pioneer species dominate a fire-affected forest area and thus alter the forest succession. This study shows that forest models can be suitable tools to simulate the dynamics of tropical forests and to assess the long-term consequences of fires
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Fischer, R. (2021):
The long-term consequences of forest fires on the carbon fluxes of a tropical forest in Africa
Appl. Sci. 11 (10), art. 4696 10.3390/app11104696