Mature riparian forest in the Cosumnes River Preserve, near Galt, California. Photo by Robert G. Walsh, 2017
Riparian forests have long been recognized as hotspots of biodiversity, and they're known to help improve water quality by filtering runoff. But riparian forests are less well-known for their ability to sequester carbon. In a new paper recently published in Global Change Biology, colleagues and I synthesized data on biomass and soil carbon stocks in riparian forests around the world. We modeled the growth of carbon stocks with forest age and compared naturally regenerating forests to those that were actively planted as part of a reforestation effort.
Former agricultural field undergoing riparian restoration in the Cosumnes River Preserve, near Galt, California. Photo by Kristen E. Dybala
Forests store tremendous amounts of carbon in the trees and soil, and provide valuable habitat for wildlife, making reforestation an important strategy for addressing both climate change and biodiversity conservation concerns. But reforestations designed to maximize carbon storage may not be as successful at providing habitat. In a paper recently published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, colleagues and I examined how carbon storage and bird communities in the Cosumnes River Preserve relate to forest density, canopy and understory cover, and forest age.