Dharma Sapkota



Tropical forests contain most of the globe’s biodiversity, estimated to support two-thirds of the world’s species despite only covering 7% of the land surface. These forests are also key for carbon storage, with estimates of 50% contained in their aboveground biomass. Despite these key roles, the tropical forest is being lost and degraded at a higher rate than any other forest types.

Tropical forests are consequently the epicentre of current and future extinctions due to anthropogenic activities. This loss contributes to 10% of global CO2 emissions and such emission is gradually turning tropical forests from a carbon sink to a carbon source.

Fire is considered as the primary driver of forest loss and degradation. About 350Mha of forest is burned every year which accounts for the 1.8 to 3.0Pg of carbon emission. Although the impacts of forest fires on biodiversity and are emissions are recognised by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES, 2019), the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) and the UNFCC REDD+ program, these impacts are complex and not completely understood.

My PhD research is focused on assessing the nexus between fire, plant biodiversity and aboveground carbon. I am going to carry out a global study on the impact of fire on taxonomic diversity (richness and turnover), followed by functional and phylogenetic diversity. I will also carry out another analysis on the impact of fire on aboveground carbon stock and emissions.

Finally, I will combine and compare the results of the impact on biodiversity and carbon stock and assess the relationship between fire, biodiversity and carbon emission.

About me

I love reading books. I also love listening to music, watching comedy shows and action movies. In my spare time I write stories. Three of my storybooks have already been published in the Nepalese language.