No relationship between biodiversity and forest carbon sink across the subtropical Brazilian Atlantic Forest

Bordin, K. et al. | Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation | 2023 | Peer Reviewed | Original research |


The Brazilian Atlantic Forest (BAF) is a global biodiversity hotspot, but its carbon sink capacity, especially in the subtropical portion, is poorly understood. We aimed to evaluate the relationship between biodiversity measures (i.e., taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic diversity) and net carbon change across subtropical BAF, testing whether there is a win–win situation in the conservation of biodiversity and carbon sink capacity across forests of distinct ages. We obtained the net carbon change from 55 permanent plots, from early successional to old-growth forests, by combining the carbon gains and losses across two censuses. We found that subtropical BAF are on average acting as a carbon sink, but carbon gains and losses varied a lot across plots, especially within late successional/old-growth forests. The carbon sink was consistent across different forest ages, and we did not find a relationship between biodiversity and net carbon change in subtropical BAF. Therefore, conservation programs should aim at both targets in order to maximize the protection of biodiversity and carbon capture across the secondary and old-growth subtropical BAF, especially in a scenario of global changes.