Effects of Land-Cover Change on Terrestrial Carbon Storage and Uptake in the Southwestern Brazilian Amazon

EPA Grant Number: F5C20409
Title: Effects of Land-Cover Change on Terrestrial Carbon Storage and Uptake in the Southwestern Brazilian Amazon
Investigators: Barrett, Kirsten
Institution: Clark University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: September 1, 2005 through May 1, 2008
Project Amount: $103,472
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships


This study examines how conversion of tropical forest to pastures and cropland will modify terrestrial carbon storage and sequestration in the Southwest Brazilian Amazon. Carbon storage will be assessed from biomass sampling of converted land-cover types combined with vegetation indices derived from remote sensing data. Sequestration will be monitored using net primary productivity calculations based on remote sensing data.

The main objective of this study is to quantify the amount of carbon lost from terrestrial vegetation due to land-cover conversion and the amount of carbon removed from the atmosphere by replacement land-cover types.


Carbon stored in primary and secondary forests will be estimated using existing inventories, in situ biomass samples, and the MODIS-derived enhanced vegetation index (EVI). In addition, the carbon removed from the atmosphere from growing vegetation will be evaluated from MODIS-derived net primary productivity (NPP) data. Information on carbon concentrations in and sequestration by above ground biomass will be combined with empirical models of land-use change to estimate how changes in land cover will modify carbon cycling. This study seeks to elaborate well-constrained projections of land-cover change and subsequent changes in the regional carbon cycle over the intermediate term (25 to 50 years).

Expected Results:

Increases in sequestration by growing vegetation in converted land-cover types do not compensate for the carbon lost in the initial conversion from primary forest. However, discrete land cover types are known to sequester carbon differently. The relative amounts of each land-cover type in a region can determine how much carbon is sequestered and stored by terrestrial vegetation.

Supplemental Keywords:

carbon cycle, carbon sequestration, carbon storage, land-cover change, land-use change, remote sensing, enhanced vegetation index, net primary productivity, Amazon,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, RESEARCH, Monitoring/Modeling, Monitoring, Environmental Monitoring, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, International, agroforestry models, anthropogenic stress, remote sensing, carbon sequestration, Brazil, environmental measurement, Amazon, forest ecosystem, environmental impact, atmospheric carbon, deforestation, land management

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2006
  • 2007
  • Final