It is increasingly recognized that Africa is very vulnerable to climate change. However, until now it has been clear whether it is a carbon absorber or emitter because of the lack of studies on the carbon cycle in representative African ecosystems, notably, tropical forests.
© Fotolia, 2012
A project funded through an ERC Advanced Grant and led by Professor Riccardo Valentini, is trying to tackle this issue.
As one of their objectives, the researchers are trying to determine the impact of forest degradation and deforestation on carbon and other greehouse gas (GHG) emissions, in the continent with the highest deforestation rate in the world.
They also aim to achieve a better understanding if the role of the African tropical rainforest on the GHG balance (especially on the global methane and N2O emissions).
In this very innovative project, methodology will include in-situ measurements and the estimation of large scale, continental GHG dynamics using remote sensing techniques and advanced modelling - taking advantage of the researcher's previous experience in the studies on European forest, and of gas measurement towers througout the world.