, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 341-360

Assessment of Major Pools and Fluxes of Carbon in Indian Forests

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Abstract

The major pools including phytomass, soil, litter, and fluxes of carbon (C)due to litterfall and landuse changes were estimated for Indian forests. Basedon growing stock-volume approach at the state and district levels, the Indianforest phytomass was estimated in the range of 3.8–4.3 PgC. The totalsoil organic pool in the top 1m depth was estimated as 6.8 PgC, usingestimated soil organic carbon densities and Remote Sensing (RS) based area byforest types. Based on 122 published Indian studies and RS-based forest area,the total litterfall carbon flux was estimated as 208.8 MgCha−1 yr−1.The cumulative net carbon flux (1880–1996) from Indian forests(1880–1996) due to landuse changes (deforestation, afforestation andphytomass degradation) was estimated as 5.4 PgC, using a simple book-keepingapproach. The mean annual net C flux due to landuse changes during1985–1996 was estimated as 9.0 TgC yr−1. For the recentperiod, the Indian forests are nationally a small source with some regionsacting as small sinks of carbon as well. The improved quantification of poolsand fluxes related to forest carbon cycle is important for understanding thecontribution of Indian forests to net carbon emissions as well as theirpotential for carbon sequestration in the context of the Kyoto protocol.