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Korczak-Abshire M.,Zaklad Biologii Antarktyki | Lees A.C.,MCT Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi | Jojczyk A.,Samodzielna Pracownia Oceny i Wyceny Zasobow Przyrodniczych
Polish Polar Research | Year: 2011

Here we report a photo-documented record of a barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) from the South Shetland Islands. We also review previous records of passerine vagrants in the Antarctic (south of the Antarctic Convergence Zone). This barn swallow is the first recorded member of the Hirundinidae family on King George Island and is only the second passerine recorded in the South Shetland Islands. This sighting, along with previous records of austral negrito and austral trush represent the southernmost sightings of any passerine bird anywhere in the world.

Berenguer E.,Lancaster University | Ferreira J.,Embrapa Amazonia Oriental | Gardner T.A.,University of Cambridge | Gardner T.A.,International Institute for Sustainability | And 9 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2014

Tropical rainforests store enormous amounts of carbon, the protection of which represents a vital component of efforts to mitigate global climate change. Currently, tropical forest conservation, science, policies, and climate mitigation actions focus predominantly on reducing carbon emissions from deforestation alone. However, every year vast areas of the humid tropics are disturbed by selective logging, understory fires, and habitat fragmentation. There is an urgent need to understand the effect of such disturbances on carbon stocks, and how stocks in disturbed forests compare to those found in undisturbed primary forests as well as in regenerating secondary forests. Here, we present the results of the largest field study to date on the impacts of human disturbances on above and belowground carbon stocks in tropical forests. Live vegetation, the largest carbon pool, was extremely sensitive to disturbance: forests that experienced both selective logging and understory fires stored, on average, 40% less aboveground carbon than undisturbed forests and were structurally similar to secondary forests. Edge effects also played an important role in explaining variability in aboveground carbon stocks of disturbed forests. Results indicate a potential rapid recovery of the dead wood and litter carbon pools, while soil stocks (0-30 cm) appeared to be resistant to the effects of logging and fire. Carbon loss and subsequent emissions due to human disturbances remain largely unaccounted for in greenhouse gas inventories, but by comparing our estimates of depleted carbon stocks in disturbed forests with Brazilian government assessments of the total forest area annually disturbed in the Amazon, we show that these emissions could represent up to 40% of the carbon loss from deforestation in the region. We conclude that conservation programs aiming to ensure the long-term permanence of forest carbon stocks, such as REDD+, will remain limited in their success unless they effectively avoid degradation as well as deforestation. © 2014 The Authors.

Berenguer E.,Lancaster University | Gardner T.A.,Stockholm Environment Institute | Gardner T.A.,International Institute for Sustainability | Ferreira J.,Embrapa Amazonia Oriental | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Across the tropics, there is a growing financial investment in activities that aim to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, such as REDD+. However, most tropical countries lack on-the-ground capacity to conduct reliable and replicable assessments of forest carbon stocks, undermining their ability to secure long-term carbon finance for forest conservation programs. Clear guidance on how to reduce the monetary and time costs of field assessments of forest carbon can help tropical countries to overcome this capacity gap. Here we provide such guidance for cost-effective one-off field assessments of forest carbon stocks. We sampled a total of eight components from four different carbon pools (i.e. aboveground, dead wood, litter and soil) in 224 study plots distributed across two regions of eastern Amazon. For each component we estimated survey costs, contribution to total forest carbon stocks and sensitivity to disturbance. Sampling costs varied thirty-one-fold between the most expensive component, soil, and the least, leaf litter. Large live stems (≥110 cm DBH), which represented only 15% of the overall sampling costs, was by far the most important component to be assessed, as it stores the largest amount of carbon and is highly sensitive to disturbance. If large stems are not taxonomically identified, costs can be reduced by a further 51%, while incurring an error in aboveground carbon estimates of only 5% in primary forests, but 31% in secondary forests. For rapid assessments, necessary to help prioritize locations for carbon- conservation activities, sampling of stems ≥20cm DBH without taxonomic identification can predict with confidence (R2 = 0.85) whether an area is relatively carbon-rich or carbon-poor - an approach that is 74% cheaper than sampling and identifying all the stems ≥10cm DBH. We use these results to evaluate the reliability of forest carbon stock estimates provided by the IPCC and FAO when applied to human-modified forests, and to highlight areas where cost savings in carbon stock assessments could be most easily made. © 2015 Berenguer et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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