Land-use change and greenhouse gas emissions in the tropics: Forest degradation on peat soils

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Forest conversion and degradation are important contributors to worldwide anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In the tropics, this contribution is disproportionally large and reducing forest conversion and degradation can substantially reduce GHG emissions. If such GHG reduction efforts are driven by some kind of performance-based payment scheme (e.g. REDD+, The Green Climate Fund), an exact quantification of emissions is crucial in order to prevent over- or underestimation of such reduction efforts. However, for the tropics default IPCC Tier 1 emissions factors are generally based on few studies and on short-term measurements, sometimes from other climatic zones and/or different continents. Another source of low accuracy in GHG emission estimates occurs when emission factors for specific tropical land uses are missing and those emissions are not included in national GHG emission budgets. In this thesis I focus on both of these problems by increasing the mechanistic understanding of the effects of forest conversions on GHG emissions in the tropics, and to contribute to the derivation of robust emission factors for land-use change in the tropics.

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