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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 (76th percentile)


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1136 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 1,136 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 21 2%
United Kingdom 13 1%
Mexico 6 <1%
Australia 6 <1%
Brazil 6 <1%
Japan 5 <1%
Canada 5 <1%
Belgium 5 <1%
India 4 <1%
Other 41 4%
Unknown 1024 90%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 268 24%
Student > Ph. D. Student 226 20%
Student > Master 162 14%
Student > Doctoral Student 65 6%
Professor > Associate Professor 65 6%
Other 253 22%
Unknown 97 9%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Environmental Science 404 36%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 362 32%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 141 12%
Social Sciences 17 1%
Engineering 16 1%
Other 53 5%
Unknown 143 13%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 81. 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 20 August 2019.
All research outputs
of 15,820,436 outputs
Outputs from Nature
of 75,699 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 220,438 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Nature
of 1,049 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 15,820,436 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 75,699 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 85.5. 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 220,438 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 1,049 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 76% of its contemporaries.