Identifying priority conservation areas for above-ground carbon sequestration in Central Mexico

Carmina Cruz-Huerta, Manuel De Jesús González-Guillén   , Tomás Martínez-Trinidad, Miguel Escalona-Maurice

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 10, Issue 6, Pages 923-929 (2017)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1980-010
Published: Dec 07, 2017 - Copyright © 2017 SISEF

Research Articles

Identifying forest ecosystems with significant ecological, social, and/or economic values is an important first-step in conserving landscape function. Here, we identify priority conservation areas in the municipalities of Chignahuapan and Zacatlan, Puebla (Mexico), based on: (i) their capacity to sequester atmospheric CO2; and (ii) risk of future deforestation. We also explore management strategies for priority-lands conservation in the Mexican context. Above-ground C sequestration was estimated using wood density and biomass expansion-factor data available from local forestry sources. Deforestation risk was estimated by a probabilistic model of land use change using socioeconomic and biophysical variables. Carbon sequestration estimates ranged from 14 to 531 Mg ha-1 for Chignahuapan and Zacatlan, respectively. An estimated 11 746 and 4 406 ha of forest was determined to be at risk of deforestation in each municipality. Of these at-risk lands, 2 421 and 1 798 ha were determined to be at high risk. In combination, we determined that 10 687 and 4 319 ha, respectively, are priority lands for carbon sequestration in Chignahuapan and Zacatlan, of which 628 and 310 ha were determined to have high conservation priority. Identifying priority conservation areas through the integrated assessment of carbon sequestration and deforestation risk can enhance efforts to target land management strategies to mitigate climate change impacts. This approach can serve as a model for other forested regions in Mexico and other countries.


Forest Carbon Sinks, REDD, Climate Change, Deforestation Risk, Priority Conservation, Probabilistic Model, Land Use, Development

Authors’ address

Carmina Cruz-Huerta
Manuel De Jesús González-Guillén
Tomás Martínez-Trinidad
Miguel Escalona-Maurice
Colegio de Postgraduados, Carretera México-Texcoco Km. 36.5, Montecillo, Edo. de México, C.P. 56230 (Mexico)

Corresponding author

Manuel De Jesús González-Guillén


Cruz-Huerta C, González-Guillén MDJ, Martínez-Trinidad T, Escalona-Maurice M (2017). Identifying priority conservation areas for above-ground carbon sequestration in Central Mexico. iForest 10: 923-929. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1980-010

Academic Editor

Francesco Ripullone

Paper history

Received: Jan 12, 2016
Accepted: Sep 08, 2017

First online: Dec 07, 2017
Publication Date: Dec 31, 2017
Publication Time: 3.00 months

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