Carbon accumulations by stock change approach in tropical highland forests of Chiapas, Mexico

  • Deb R. AryalEmail author
  • Roldan Ruiz-Corzo
Original Paper


Changes in forest biomass and soil organic carbon reserves have strong links to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Human activities such as livestock grazing, forest fires, selective logging and firewood extraction are the common disturbances that affect the carbon dynamics of the forest ecosystems. Here, we hypothesized that such anthropogenic activities significantly reduce the carbon stocks and accumulation rates in the tropical highland forests of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas in Southern Mexico. We sampled the Pinus oocarpa Scheide dominated forests within the elevation range of 900 to 1100 m above sea level in 2010, 2014 and 2017. We measured the stand structural properties and used the reported allometric equations to calculate the tree carbon stocks. Stock change approach was used to calculate carbon accumulation rates. The results showed a gradual increase in carbon storage over the 7-year period from 2010 to 2017, but the rate of increase varied significantly between the study sites. The aboveground carbon stock was 107.25 ± 11.77 Mg ha−1 for the site with lower anthropogenic intensity, compared to 74.29 ± 16.85 Mg ha−1 for the site with higher intensity. The current annual increment for the forest with lower anthropogenic intensity was 7.81 ± 0.65 Mg ha−1 a−1, compared to 3.87 ± 1.03 Mg ha−1 a−1 in the site with high anthropogenic intensity. Although at varying rates, these forests are functioning as important carbon sinks. The results on carbon accumulation rates have important implications in greenhouse gas mitigations and forest change modelling in the context of changing global climate.


Anthropogenic disturbances Biomass Carbon accumulation rates Forest carbon pools Forest structure Southern Mexico 



We thank BIOMASA A.C. and Mexico REDD + program for supporting part of the fieldwork. We are thankful to Carrie Mitchell for English revision of the manuscript. We acknowledge the constructive comments from the reviewers on the earlier version of the article.


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© Northeast Forestry University 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CONACYT-UNACH, Facultad de Ciencias AgronómicasUniversidad Autónoma de ChiapasVillafloresMexico
  2. 2.Facultad de Ciencias AgronómicasUniversidad Autónoma de ChiapasVillafloresMexico

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