Forest biomass carbon dynamics (1980–2009) in western Himalaya in the context of REDD+ policy

  • Akhlaq Amin Wani
  • P. K. Joshi
  • Ombir Singh
  • Rajesh Kumar
  • V. R. S. Rawat
  • Bilal A. Khaki
Original Article


Carbon emissions from forests have decreased in the past decade due to conservation efforts, however majority of carbon losses suffered in the past went unnoticed until the role of forests in mitigating climate change was realized. Forestry sector in developing countries is recognized as one of the largest and low cost mitigation options to address climate change. The present study was conducted to assess the multi-temporal biomass carbon mitigation in the temperate forests of western Himalaya using satellite (Landsat MSS, TM, ETM+) and forest inventory data. Forest type density mapping was done through on-screen visual interpretation of satellite data. After conducting preliminary survey in 2009, 45 quadrats (0.1 ha) were laid in six forest types for collecting field inventory data viz., diameter at breast height, tree height, slope and aspect. Biomass carbon (t ha−1) was estimated for different forest types with different crown densities (open with 10–40% crown density and closed with >40%) using recommended regression equations, ratios and factors. A decreasing trend of carbon (145.13–134.87 mt) was observed over the period of time. Temporal biomass carbon dynamics was analyzed for REDD+ opportunities. The temporal variation of carbon observed was found to be more useful for claiming benefits under negative options (deforestation and forest degradation) of REDD+. The study doesn’t take actual conversions to CO2 into account. However, the findings are useful in establishing baseline emissions through temporal carbon losses. Further, the study helps in identification of location specific socio-economic drivers of losses that can be used for appropriate mitigation interventions.


Biomass carbon Mitigation Temperate coniferous forests Himalaya REDD+ Satellite data 



We thank the Government of Jammu & Kashmir and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, State Forest Department Jammu & Kashmir for permission to conduct this study. We are also grateful to Divisional Forest Officers of Anantnag Forest Division and Lidder Forest Division for their coordination in collecting field data across different forest ranges. We are also highly grateful to the anonymous reviewers for helping us raise quality of the manuscript through their critical comments.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have not competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akhlaq Amin Wani
    • 1
  • P. K. Joshi
    • 2
  • Ombir Singh
    • 3
  • Rajesh Kumar
    • 4
  • V. R. S. Rawat
    • 5
  • Bilal A. Khaki
    • 6
  1. 1.Faculty of ForestrySher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of KashmirBenhama-Watlar, GanderbalIndia
  2. 2.School of Environmental SciencesJawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia
  3. 3.Silviculture DivisionForest Research Institute (FRI)DehradunIndia
  4. 4.Forest Survey of IndiaDehradunIndia
  5. 5.Biodiversity and Climate Change DivisionIndian Council of Forestry Research and EducationDehradunIndia
  6. 6.Department of Ecology, Environment and Remote SensingGovernment of J&KBemina, SrinagarIndia

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