||With heightened concerns about climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, understanding
the mechanics of carbon sequestration is becoming more important than ever. The world’s
tropical forests are being sought for their increased ability to capture carbon in
hopes that they might provide a solution to offset the emissions of industrialized
Techniques for the promotion of carbon sequestration are being explored in all disciplines
with plans spanning international markets. The Brazilian Amazon is of particular
interest in these discussions, however comprehensive data on carbon sequestration
in the region has yet to be seen, reducing the accuracy of estimates of potential
This study compared the carbon content of different-aged secondary forest stands to
reach a deeper understanding of temporal trends in forest carbon sequestration using
geospatial analysis and remote sensing techniques.
I used Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper satellite images to create a multi-temporal classification
of forested and non-forested areas for 1984 to 2006. I then merged the classifications
to estimate age the secondary forests present to the east of the Brazilian Amazon
over this 22-year period. The resulting tree ages were compared to standing aboveground
carbon based upon existing estimates from the Woods Hole Research Center’s Pan-Tropical
Forest Carbon dataset.
An increase in accumulated carbon for increasingly older secondary forests was observed
over an area of 58,038 km2. Deforestation rates in the study area have been generally
decreasing since 1984, however in more recent years rising deforestation rates have
been noted. Additionally, correlations were noted between carbon and latitude, precipitation,
and temperature across the study area.