DEVELOPMENT OF A CARBON IN ABOVEGROUND BIOMASS FORECAST MODEL FOR UNDERUTILISED SPECIES IN QUIRINO FOREST LANDSCAPE PROJECT, PHILIPPINES
Keywords:Allometric equation, carbon sequestration, climate change mitigation
Sustaining forest carbon sinks is a priority in climate change mitigation and forest management strategies. However, several issues confront the role of Philippine forests in climate change mitigation. These include the loss of old-growth cover, unsustainable forest landuse practices, and lack of site-specific modelling. These are the realities in the Quirino Forest Landscape Project (QFLP), a semi-contiguous collection of secondary forests in four municipalities of Quirino Province. This study was undertaken to develop a forecast model for carbon in aboveground of underutilised trees in QFLP. Data were collected through field inventory, the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority Land Cover Databases, and secondary sources. Multiple linear regression, principal components analysis, and biodiversity indices were used to analyse the data collected from different sampling areas to develop a forecast model. Findings suggest that the QFLP forest was secondary, as evidenced by the fact that > 60% of the trees were underutilised. With the ongoing decline in forest cover due to resource use and lack of forestry policy enforcement, it is worth noting that the carbon sequestration potential of underutilised species is not dependent on ecological dominance; that is, species that are more vulnerable to local extinction have higher potential to gain carbon. Given all the variables and their high forecasting power, the study demonstrated that the developed model was precise enough to provide future carbon capture values for QFLP.