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Trends and scenarios of the carbon budget in postagricultural Puerto Rico (19362060)

Summary: Trends and scenarios of the carbon budget in
postagricultural Puerto Rico (1936­2060)
H . R I C A R D O G R A U *w , T. M I T C H E L L A I D E *, J E S S K . Z I M M E R M A N z and J O H N R .
T H O M L I N S O N z
*Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, PO Box 23360, RiŽo Piedras, PR 00931-3360, Puerto Rico, USA, wLaboratorio de
Investigaciones EcoloŽgicas de las Yungas, Universidad Nacional de TucumaŽn, Casilla de Correo 34 (4107), Yerba Buena, TucumaŽn,
Argentina, zInstitute for Tropical Ecosystem Studies, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, PR 00936, Puerto Rico, USA
Contrary to the general trend in the tropics, Puerto Rico underwent a process of
agriculture abandonment during the second half of the 20th century as a consequence of
socioeconomic changes toward urbanization and industrialization. Using data on land-
use change, biomass accumulation in secondary forests, and ratios between gross
domestic product (GDP) and carbon emissions, we developed a model of the carbon
budget for Puerto Rico between 1936 and 2060. As a consequence of land abandonment,
forests have expanded rapidly since 1950, achieving the highest sequestration rates
between 1980 and 1990. Regardless of future scenarios of demography and land use,
sequestration rates will decrease in the future because biomass accumulation decreases
with forest age and there is little agricultural land remaining to be abandoned. Due to
high per-capita consumption and population density, carbon emissions of Puerto Rico
have increased dramatically and exceeded carbon sequestration during the second half


Source: Aide, Mitchell - Department of Biology, Universidad de Puerto Rico - Rio Piedras


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology