New paper: Comparing carbon monitoring approaches in old-growth forests of the Dinaric Alps

Carbon storage is one of the most important ecosystem services provided by forests to society. However, methods to monitor and report forest carbon stocks are still poorly understood. A new paper by WILDCARD researchers of the Universities of Turin and Udine, in Italy, compares different methods to estimate carbon stocks in old-growth forests of the Dinaric Alps in the Balkans, finding that direct and indirect methods result in significantly different carbon estimates.

The paper compares direct carbon assessment methods, such as field measurements, with indirect approaches, such as IPCC standard methods, finding that the latter tend to underestimate and overestimate carbon stocks, depending on the site considered. It also revealed that a few large trees (5%) concentrate a high amount of carbon stock (36% of carbon) in the study areas, which store a total of 507 Mg C ha−1. The results indicate that old-growth forests in the Dinaric Alps are the largest forest carbon sinks in Europe.

The paper “The largest European forest carbon sinks are in the Dinaric Alps old-growth forests: comparison of direct measurements and standardised approaches” was co-authored by researchers from the Universities of Montenegro and Banja.