Research Article

Temperate forest dynamics and carbon storage: a 26-year case study from Orange Kloof Forest, Cape Peninsula, South Africa

Published in: Southern Forests: a Journal of Forest Science
Volume 79, issue 4, 2017 , pages: 297–303
DOI: 10.2989/20702620.2016.1254904
Author(s): Anabelle W CardosoDepartment of Biological Sciences, South Africa, Jeremy J MidgleyDepartment of Biological Sciences, South Africa, M Timm HoffmanDepartment of Biological Sciences, South Africa, Coert J GeldenhuysDepartment of Forest and Wood Science, South Africa


Temperate forests are globally important carbon stores that are, in the face of recent improvements in their conservation, likely to increase their storage capacity in the future. Despite this, these ecosystems are poorly understood, especially over longer time periods. To remedy this and to better understand these important ecosystems, we monitored marked stems >5 cm diameter at breast height (DBH) in a 0.52 ha forest plot on the Cape Peninsula over 26 years. Aboveground biomass (AGB), calculated from stem diameter, increased from 203 to 226 Mg ha−1 over this period. The AGB residence time was greater than a century. Stem mortality was relatively high (1.2% per annum [p.a.]) and exceeded recruitment (0.2% p.a.). The recruitment of a large number of smaller stems of species not presently represented in the forest canopy suggests that compositional changes will occur in the future. Overall, these results suggest that the forest is in a post-disturbance recovery phase, although favourable climatic conditions over the last three decades may also have had an influence on AGB accumulation.

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