Forest Management Influences Aboveground Carbon and Tree Species Diversity in Myanmar's Mixed Deciduous Forests
Declines in the global extent and condition of tropical forests have reduced carbon storage potential and caused biodiversity loss. However, the magnitude of these problems within individual countries may depend on the extent of the reserved forest estate, and the particular rules put in place to manage resource use in these areas. To test this hypothesis, aboveground carbon stocks and indices of tree diversity were derived for two reserved (highly regulated) sites and a protected public (less
... ected public (less regulated) site in the mixed deciduous forests of Myanmar. Aboveground tree carbon stocks were around three times higher in the reserved forests than in the public forest, a difference driven by the near absence of trees >40 cm DBH at the public forest site. The species composition of large (≥20 cm DBH) trees differed substantially between all three sites. In contrast, the species composition of small (<20 cm DBH) trees differed between the reserved and public forest in the case of one reserved site but not the other. Both species richness and diversity of large (≥20 cm DBH) trees was about five times higher in the reserved forest than in the public forest. This was not the case for small (<20 cm DBH) trees, where estimates of both richness and diversity were similar at all three sites. These findings suggest that both carbon storage potential and large-tree diversity are influenced by forest protection status. This has important implications for national carbon storage estimates as forest protection status is not currently considered as part of the standard carbon accounting procedure.