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Increasing carbon storage in intact African tropical forests

Overview of attention for article published in Nature, February 2009
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (78th percentile)


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1199 Mendeley
5 CiteULike
1 Connotea
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Increasing carbon storage in intact African tropical forests
Published in
Nature, February 2009
DOI 10.1038/nature07771
Pubmed ID

Simon L. Lewis, Gabriela Lopez-Gonzalez, Bonaventure Sonké, Kofi Affum-Baffoe, Timothy R. Baker, Lucas O. Ojo, Oliver L. Phillips, Jan M. Reitsma, Lee White, James A. Comiskey, Marie-Noël Djuikouo K, Corneille E. N. Ewango, Ted R. Feldpausch, Alan C. Hamilton, Manuel Gloor, Terese Hart, Annette Hladik, Jon Lloyd, Jon C. Lovett, Jean-Remy Makana, Yadvinder Malhi, Frank M. Mbago, Henry J. Ndangalasi, Julie Peacock, Kelvin S.-H. Peh, Douglas Sheil, Terry Sunderland, Michael D. Swaine, James Taplin, David Taylor, Sean C. Thomas, Raymond Votere, Hannsjörg Wöll


The response of terrestrial vegetation to a globally changing environment is central to predictions of future levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The role of tropical forests is critical because they are carbon-dense and highly productive. Inventory plots across Amazonia show that old-growth forests have increased in carbon storage over recent decades, but the response of one-third of the world's tropical forests in Africa is largely unknown owing to an absence of spatially extensive observation networks. Here we report data from a ten-country network of long-term monitoring plots in African tropical forests. We find that across 79 plots (163 ha) above-ground carbon storage in live trees increased by 0.63 Mg C ha(-1) yr(-1) between 1968 and 2007 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.22-0.94; mean interval, 1987-96). Extrapolation to unmeasured forest components (live roots, small trees, necromass) and scaling to the continent implies a total increase in carbon storage in African tropical forest trees of 0.34 Pg C yr(-1) (CI, 0.15-0.43). These reported changes in carbon storage are similar to those reported for Amazonian forests per unit area, providing evidence that increasing carbon storage in old-growth forests is a pan-tropical phenomenon. Indeed, combining all standardized inventory data from this study and from tropical America and Asia together yields a comparable figure of 0.49 Mg C ha(-1) yr(-1) (n = 156; 562 ha; CI, 0.29-0.66; mean interval, 1987-97). This indicates a carbon sink of 1.3 Pg C yr(-1) (CI, 0.8-1.6) across all tropical forests during recent decades. Taxon-specific analyses of African inventory and other data suggest that widespread changes in resource availability, such as increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, may be the cause of the increase in carbon stocks, as some theory and models predict.

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 1,199 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 20 2%
United Kingdom 13 1%
Mexico 6 <1%
Brazil 5 <1%
Japan 5 <1%
Australia 5 <1%
Canada 5 <1%
Belgium 5 <1%
India 4 <1%
Other 41 3%
Unknown 1090 91%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 277 23%
Student > Ph. D. Student 232 19%
Student > Master 175 15%
Student > Bachelor 73 6%
Professor > Associate Professor 66 6%
Other 262 22%
Unknown 114 10%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Environmental Science 418 35%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 380 32%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 143 12%
Social Sciences 19 2%
Engineering 18 2%
Other 59 5%
Unknown 162 14%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 86. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 09 December 2020.
All research outputs
of 17,904,439 outputs
Outputs from Nature
of 80,598 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 226,242 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Nature
of 1,044 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 17,904,439 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 98th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 80,598 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 91.1. This one has done well, scoring higher than 78% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 226,242 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1,044 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 78% of its contemporaries.