My PhD student Collins Bulafu has recently published his second paper, this time in the open access Journal of Tropical Forestry and Environment. He looks at changes in woody biomass of small forest fragments in the Kampala area, Uganda over two decades and partitions the change into the component causes by structural changes, and the portion caused by changes in species composition. Despite the large changes in species composition revealed in his first paper, published in Ecology and Evolution, most of the change in biomass can be attributed to structural changes in the forests.
Collins now has two published papers and an unpublished manuscript so can submit his thesis for evaluation at the University of Makerere. Fingers crossed.
Bulafu, C, Baranga, D, Eycott, AE, Mucunguzi, P, Telford, RJ & Vandvik, V (2013) Structural changes are more important than compositional changes in driving biomass loss in Ugandan forest fragments. Journal of Tropical Forestry and Environment, 3
Aboveground biomass (AGB) contained in privately-owned forests is less frequently measured than in forest reserves despite their greater likelihood of degradation. We demonstrate how density changes in contrast to species compositional changes have driven AGB changes in privately-owned fragments in Uganda over two decades. Data on tree assemblages in fragments were obtained by re-sampling a 1990 dataset in 2010 and AGB estimated using generalised allometric equation that incorporates diameter at breast height (DBH) and species-specific wood density. AGB were highly variable between fragments and over time. Structural changes contributed a higher proportion of change in AGB than species compositional changes in all forests. Non-pioneer species constituted over 50% of AGB in reserve forest, in contrast to private forests where pioneer species dominated. Our study demonstrates the potential of private forests to hold comparable AGB to plantation. Reduction in exploitation pressure is required if fragments are to mitigate carbon emissions.