On a global scale, about 15.5% of forests are administered through community-based forestry programs that offer the opportunity for enhanced carbon sequestration while maintaining the supply of more traditional goods and services such as cooking fuels, animal fodder and bedding. A challenge in community forest (CF) management is to realize their carbon value without compromising their role in the provision of these traditional goods and services. In this study of CF dominated by Pinus roxburghii in the Phalebas region of Nepal, the impacts of stand composition and geographic aspect on aboveground forest carbon is investigated as a means to optimize CF management for both traditional values and for emerging carbon market values. The aboveground carbon of mixed and monospecific stands of Pinus roxburghii was estimated using a combination of destructive sampling and species-specific allometric equations. On average, monospecific stands contained 106.2 Mg C ha-1 in aboveground tree biomass, significantly more than mixed stands at 73.1 Mg C ha-1 (p = 0.022). Similarly, stands growing on northern aspects (northeast 124.8 Mg C ha-1, northwest 100.9 Mg C ha-1) stored significantly more carbon (p = 0.002) than southern aspects (southeast 75.3 Mg C ha-1, southwest 57.6 Mg C ha-1), reflecting the more favorable growing conditions of northern aspects. These results suggest monospecific stands planted on northern aspects may be best suited for management to achieve carbon benefits, whilst mixed-species stands on southern aspects may be better suited for biodiversity conservation and supporting livelihoods. To maintain and increase carbon value, community forestry may need to implement nutrient return practices to limit the impact of sustained nutrient removals on stand productivity.
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