Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide has led to the global consequences of climate change. Biological carbon sequestration through vegetation and soils is one of the cost-effective ways to reduce this gas. Forest's ecosystems are the most important carbon pools among terrestrial ecosystems and play a sustainable and long-term role in reducing climate change. Among forest ecosystems, sacred groves are less-disturbed and they can be a pattern of successful forest management for carbon sequestration and climate change reduction. In the present study, for the first time, the amount of carbon content in sacred grove and silvopastoral lands were investigated to determine the capacity of Zagros oak forests in carbon sequestration and climate change reduction. The aim of this study was to estimate the amount of carbon reserves in mentioned land-uses in order to obtain a systematic attitude towards management of these different land-use types and attain a suitable solution to counter the climate change crisis and ultimately sustainable environmental development.
The results showed that each of the studied variables in the two studied land use is significantly different from each other. The mean of each of these biomass or carbon pools in silvopastoral is significantly lower than sacred groves. The results indicate that the common utilizations in the forests of the study area cause a significant reduction (P ≤ 0.01) in the forest biomass value and respective carbon content. Sacred grove currently absorbs 826.96 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare more than silvopastoral lands and this is a sign of high degradation in the forests of the study area.
According to the results obtained in this study, forest ecosystems that are protected against human intervention play a significant role in long-term carbon storage. Any interference with the natural conditions of the ecosystem has a significant negative impact on carbon reserves. Therefore, by selecting appropriate measures, local communities should be empowered to reduce their dependence on low incomes obtained from deforestation and conversion.