The University of Arizona

Biomass Growth Rate of Trees from Cameroon Based on 14C Analysis and Growth Models

J B Tandoh, F Marzaioli, G Battipaglia, M Capano, S Castaldi, B Lasserre, M Marchetti, I Passariello, F Terrasi, R Valentini


The question of whether the rise in CO2 levels observed during the industrial era has influenced the rates of tree biomass growth represents one of the main unsolved questions in the field of climate change science. In this framework, the African tropical forest represents one of the most important carbon (C) sinks, but detailed knowledge of its response to elevated CO2 is still lacking, especially regarding tree growth rate estimations. A major limitation to determining growth rates in the African tropical region is that many trees lack seasonality in cambial activity determining annual growth rings. In this study, several species of trees characterizing the African tropical forest have been investigated to estimate their biomass growth rate by means of a procedure based on 14C and growth models. A total of 71 subsamples were analyzed for a Entandrophragma cylindricum (sapele) tree, and 38 and 25 wood subsamples for Erythrophleum suaveolens (tali) and Triplochiton scleroxylon (ayous) trees, respectively, using radiocarbon measurements at the Centre for Isotopic Research on Cultural and Environmental Heritage (CIRCE). All measured modern samples were in agreement with the Southern Hemisphere (SH) 14C bomb-spike curve. Observed preliminary results indicate a decrease in the growth rate of the sapele tree (~350 yr old) in the industrial period compared to the pre-industrial era. Growth rates for trees of the other 2 species were higher than sapele, with ayous being the fastest-growing species.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_js_rc.55.16243


growth rates, trees, africa

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