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Objectives

The overarching goal of this project is to set up a first attempt of a GHG fluxes monitoring network of Africa, in order to quantify, understand and predict, by a multi-disciplinary integrated approach, greenhouse gas emissions in Sub-Saharan Africa and its associated spatial and temporal variability. We will start building on the state of the art of the carbon studies in Africa filling the gaps of knowledge, and then we will utilize and expand existing carbon observing systems, together with the establishment of new infrastructures, improving the required monitoring systems. We also conduct specific regional studies in key areas, considering both carbon sources and sinks.
Moreover, there is a growing interest in the implementation of the Kyoto protocol through its flexible mechanism, such as CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) in the context of land use change and forestry in Africa, therefore CARBOAFRICA will address the potential for carbon sequestration in Sub-Saharan Africa by means of specific studies.
The improvement of an African GHG network will contribute to the enhancement of an Earth observations system, strengthening the capacity of Europe to understand global change for the future orientation of mitigation strategy. The scientific and technological results, in addition to the capacity building activities foreseen by this project, will promote the integration of the African environmental dimension in its social and economic context, giving African people the skills to start out on the path of a sustainable development.
In particular, specific objectives are:

Objective 1: Consolidate and expand terrestrial carbon and other GHG fluxes monitoring network of Sub-Saharan Africa
CARBOAFRICA project will expand and improve the existing carbon observing systems in Africa. We will collect existing knowledge and coordinate existing efforts through harmonization and exchange of methodologies for flux measurements and ecological sampling across the regions. We will enhance the monitoring capabilities by expanding flux towers and ecological measurements in different ecosystem-types, representative of the Africa's biodiversity and will be the first initiative to cover tropical forest which was not considered so far. Those actions will be the base for setting up a full greenhouse gas monitoring system in Sub-Saharan Africa. We will also integrate the TEMS (Terrestrial Ecosystem Monitoring Sites) existing network for input to model parameterization.

Objective 2: Provide an analysis of the requirements in order to establish a terrestrial GHG monitoring systems for Sub-Saharan Africa
One of the aims of CARBOAFRICA is to make use of the existing GHG observations capabilities for fluxes and stocks of carbon, their current geographical distribution, the end users requirements for UNFCCC and IPCC guidelines implementation, to design an optimal monitoring system network and the identification of its components.

Objective 3: Understand quantify and predict the GHG budget of Sub-Saharan Africa and its associated spatial and temporal variability
By an integrated approach, considering flux measurements together with specific models which assimilate data on soil, atmosphere, agriculture, hydrology, fires and ecological variables, we will identify the links between carbon cycle and nutrients, hydrology, fires, and land use, which will be used as a first broad attempt to produce spatial distribution of sources and sinks and their time behaviour. Water and the nutrient cycles are important drivers of the carbon dynamics in savannas, and fires control carbon allocation as well, both directly and indirectly. A complex interaction between these factors also controls vegetation types and dynamics, thus indirectly carbon allocation.
Data assimilation will comprise own measurements around the identified core sites with flux towers but also integrating the relevant amount of knowledge that was achieved during seven decades of ecological research in Africa. Models will be validated using flux tower data at specific locations. A specific activity will be conducted to evaluate models estimates at regional scale by using aircraft based measurements across a regional transect in west Africa (see CARE experiment, WP3). The process level understanding will help to consolidate reviews of the greenhouse gas budget for all relevant Sub-Sahara African ecosystem-types (tropical forests, savannas, shrublands, grasslands, deserts). The results of this work will provide the knowledge elements necessary for reducing uncertain and bias in GHG budget estimates and to contribute to the revision of the IPCC guidelines.

Objective 4: Assess the current land use change and evaluate the potential for carbon sequestration in Sub-Saharan Africa in the context inter alia of the Kyoto Protocol
An attainable objective will be the recommendations regarding the potential of natural ecosystems to act as carbon sinks, and the management actions that would need to take place to achieve this, thus implementing the strategies necessary to mitigate global change. In particular also the potential role of CDM mechanisms concerning afforestation and reforestation will be evaluated in Sub-Saharan Africa. Within this objective we will provide: the dissemination of data on carbon sequestration and other GHG fluxes to States and Stake Holders; recommendations for a sustainable use of land and a rational use of natural resources in the main African ecosystems.

 
Last updated : 25-07-2007 2:22:32 PM