Assessing the Role of Watershed Areas in Mitigating Climate Change in the Philippines: The Case of the La Mesa Watershed

R D Lasco, F B Pulhin
Vol 9 No 1 (2006), pp. 19-29




Tropical rainforests have recognized potential for mitigating climate change by their natural absorption of CO2, a greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. The Philippines offers such areas that can serve as carbon sinks, among which is the La Mesa Watershed. With an area of 2,700 ha, the Watershed holds carbon stocks within its different land covers: tree plantations, brushlands, and secondary growth forests. They make up 64%, 3.1% and 4.2% of the total area, respectively.

A combination of primary and secondary data were used to determine the total carbon storage in the La Mesa Watershed. For tree plantations, various carbon pools were measured: tree biomass; understorey vegetation; litter/necromass; and soil. For brushlands and secondary growth forests, carbon storage was derived from the generated carbon density data of previous studies conducted in the Philippines.

Results revealed that the La Mesa Watershed currently has carbon stocks of 140 Gg C, the greater portion of which can be found in tree plantations (113 Gg C), followed by secondary forests (20 Gg C) and brushlands (6.97 Gg C). Carbon storage in the Watershed is expected to significantly increase once rehabilitation activities in the area are completed, that is when newly-established 1,000-ha tree plantation matures.


Keywords: tree plantations, biomass density, carbon sink

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