Landscape Ecology

, Volume 27, Issue 8, pp 1135–1147 | Cite as

Trade-offs between tree cover, carbon storage and floristic biodiversity in reforesting landscapes

  • Jaclyn M. Hall
  • Tracy Van Holt
  • Amy E. Daniels
  • Vincent Balthazar
  • Eric F. Lambin
Research Article


This study explores the relationships between an increase in tree cover area (i.e., natural and planted-tree land covers) and changes in forest carbon storage and the potential of a landscape to provide habitat for native floristic biodiversity. Four areas experiencing an increase in tree cover were analyzed. We developed a metric estimating the potential to support native biodiversity based on tree cover type (plantation or natural forests) and the landscape pattern of natural and anthropogenic land covers. We used published estimates for forest and plantation carbon stocks for each region. Focus regions in northwestern Costa Rica, northern Vietnam, southern Chile and highland Ecuador all showed an increase in tree cover area of 390 %, 260 %, 123 % and 418 %, respectively. Landscapes experiencing increases in natural secondary forest also experienced an increase in carbon stored above and below ground, and in the potential to support native floristic biodiversity. Study landscapes in Chile and Ecuador experiencing an expansion of exotic plantations saw their carbon stock decrease along with their potential to support native floristic biodiversity. This study shows that an increase in forest area does not necessarily imply an increased provision of ecosystem services when landscapes are reforesting with monoculture plantations of exotic tree species. Changes in the support of native biodiversity and the carbon stored in pulp rotation plantations, along with other ecosystem services, should be fully considered before implementing reforestation projects.


Forest Forest transition REDD+ 

Supplementary material

10980_2012_9755_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaclyn M. Hall
    • 1
  • Tracy Van Holt
    • 2
  • Amy E. Daniels
    • 3
  • Vincent Balthazar
    • 1
  • Eric F. Lambin
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Earth and Life Institute, Georges Lemaître Centre for Earth and Climate ResearchUniversity of LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  2. 2.Institute for Coastal Science and Policy, Flanagan BuildingEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA
  3. 3.US Forest Service, Research and DevelopmentWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.School of Earth Sciences and Woods Institute for the EnvironmentStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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