Forests, Vol. 9, Pages 18: The Carbon Dynamics of Dry Tropical Afromontane Forest Ecosystems in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia Forests doi: 10.3390/f9010018 Authors: Beyene Belay Elisabeth Pötzelsberger Kibruyesfa Sisay Dessie Assefa Hubert Hasenauer Forest degradation due to land use change is a severe problem in Ethiopian Afromontane Forests. We investigated such degradation effects by comparing degraded agricultural land (previously covered with forest) with neighboring natural forests, 40 to 50 years after conversion. We selected four different study areas to cover the eco-climatic conditions of the Amhara region in Northwestern Ethiopia. For a paired-stand comparison we collected soil data on both land use types. We calculated forest biomass to evaluate the biogeochemical-mechanistic ecosystem model Biome-BGC, which is used as a diagnostic tool to assess the site and management impacts on productivity as well as ecosystem carbon and nitrogen accumulation. We applied Biome-BGC to assess rehabilitation options on such degraded land. Afromontane forests in the highlands of Ethiopia showed high soil C stocks, resulting from long lasting biomass accumulation. Removing the tree cover and converting forest areas to crop- or grassland, has led to a loss of 40–85% of the soil C stocks and thus a loss in soil fertility within only 40 to 50 years. Rehabilitation efforts by replanting trees will improve soil fertility, but may require over a thousand years to achieve a similar level in biomass and soil fertility versus the situation prior to the land use change.
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition