Forest fragmentation's carbon bomb: 736 million tonnes C02 annually

9 October 2014

Scientists have long known that forest fragments are not the same ecologically as intact forest landscapes. When forests are slashed into fragments, winds dry out the edges leading to dying trees and rising temperatures. Biodiversity often drops, while local extinctions rise and big animals vanish. Now, a new study finds another worrisome impact of forest fragmentation: carbon emissions.

Looking at forest fragments in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, new research in the journal Nature Communications finds that carbon loss along the forest edges was more significant than believed. The researchers used remote sensing and computer modeling to measure how much carbon was released from a forest fragment's edge, defined as a 100 meter strip along the periphery.

Read more from Mongabay