, Volume 14, Issue 8, pp 1276–1288 | Cite as

Aboveground Forest Carbon Dynamics in Papua New Guinea: Isolating the Influence of Selective-Harvesting and El Niño

  • Julian C. FoxEmail author
  • Ghislain Vieilledent
  • Cossey K. Yosi
  • Joe N. Pokana
  • Rodney J. Keenan


Assessment of forest carbon (C) stock and sequestration and the influence of forest harvesting and climatic variations are important issues in global forest ecology. Quantitative studies of the C balance of tropical forests, such as those in Papua New Guinea (PNG), are also required for forest-based climate change mitigation initiatives. We develop a hierarchical Bayesian model (HBM) of aboveground forest C stock and sequestration in primary, selectively harvested, and El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-effected lowland tropical forest from 15 years of Permanent Sample Plot (PSP) census data for PNG consisting of 121 plots in selectively harvested forest, and 35 plots in primary forest. Model parameters indicated: C stock in aboveground live biomass (AGLB) of 137 ± 9 (95% confidence interval (CI)) MgC ha−1 in primary forest, compared with 62 ± 18 MgC ha−1 for selectively harvested forest (55% difference); C sequestration in primary forest of 0.23 ± 1.70 MgC ha−1 y−1, which was lower than in selectively harvested forest, 1.12 ± 3.41 MgC ha−1 y−1; ENSO-induced fire resulted in significant C emissions (−6.87 ± 3.94 MgC ha−1 y−1). High variability between PSPs in C stock and C sequestration rates necessitated random plot effects for both stock and sequestration. The HBM approach allowed inclusion of hierarchical autocorrelation, providing valid CIs on model parameters and efficient estimation. The HBM model has provided quantitative insights on the C balance of PNG’s forests that can be used as inputs for climate change mitigation initiatives.


biomass sequestration degradation selective-harvesting REDD+ carbon bayesian hierarchical 



Many people from PNGFRI have been instrumental in establishing and maintaining the PSP network. Forova Oavika, Cossey Yosi, Joe Pokana and Kunsey Lavong have managed PSP establishment and remeasurement over the last 15 years. Janet Sabub has provided secretarial and data entry services. Field assistants were Stanley Maine, Timothy Urahau, Matrus Peter, Amos Basenke, Gabriel Mambo, Silver Masbong, Dingko Sinawi and Steven Mathew. We thank Heidi Zimmer for comments and advice. This study received financial support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (project FST/2004/061). C. Yosi is supported by an ACIAR John Allwright Fellowship whilst undertaking PhD studies at The University of Melbourne.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julian C. Fox
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ghislain Vieilledent
    • 2
    • 3
  • Cossey K. Yosi
    • 1
    • 4
  • Joe N. Pokana
    • 5
  • Rodney J. Keenan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forest and Ecosystem ScienceThe University of Melbourne Burnley CampusRichmondAustralia
  2. 2.Cirad-UR 105 Forest Ecosystem Goods and ServicesMontpellier Cedex 5France
  3. 3.Cirad-Madagascar-DRP Forêt et BiodiversitéAmbatobeMadagascar
  4. 4.Papua New Guinea Forest Research InstituteLae 411Papua New Guinea
  5. 5.Papua New Guinea Office of Climate Change and DevelopmentBoroko 111Papua New Guinea

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