Tree height integrated into pantropical forest biomass estimates

Feldpausch, T.R., Lloyd, J., Lewis, S.L., Brienen, R.J.W, Gloor, M., Monteagudo Mendoza, A., López-gonzález, G., Banin, L., Abu Salim, K., Affum-baffoe, K., Alexiades, M., Almeida, S., Amaral, I., Andrade, A., Aragão, L.E.O.C., Araujo Murakami, A., Arets, E.J.M.M., Arroyo, L., Aymard C, G.A., Baker, T.R., Banki, O.S., Berry, N.J., Cardozo, N., Chave, J., Comiskey, J.A., Alvarez, E., de Oliveira, A., Di Fiore, A., Djagbletey, G., Domingues, T.F., Erwin, T.L., Fearnside, P.M., França, M.B., Freitas, M.A., Higuchi, N., Honorio C, E., Iida, Y., Jiménez, E., Kassim, A.R., Killeen, T.J., Laurance, W.F., Lovett, J.C., Malhi, Y., Marimon, B.S., Marimon-Junior, B.H., Lenza, E., Marshall, A.R., Mendoza, C., Metcalfe, D.J., Mitchard, E.T.A., Neill, D.A., Nelson, B.W., Nilus, R., Nogueira, E.M., Parada, A., Peh, K.S.H., Pena Cruz, A., Peñuela, M.C., Pitman, N.C.A., Prieto, A., Quesada, C.A., Ramírez, F., Ramírez-Angulo, H., Reitsma, J.M., Rudas, A., Saiz, G., Salomão, R.P., Schwarz, M., Silva, N., Silva-Espejo, J.E., Silveira, M., Sonké, B., Stropp, J., Taedoumg, H.E., Tan, S., ter Steege, H., Terborgh, J., Torello-Raventos, M., Van Der Heijden, G.M.F., Vásquez, R., Vilanova, E., Vos, V.A., White, L., Willcock, S., Woell, H., and Phillips, O.L. (2012) Tree height integrated into pantropical forest biomass estimates. Biogeosciences, 9. pp. 3381-3403.

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Abstract

Aboveground tropical tree biomass and carbon storage estimates commonly ignore tree height (H). We estimate the effect of incorporating H on tropics-wide forest biomass estimates in 327 plots across four continents using 42 656 H and diameter measurements and harvested trees from 20 sites to answer the following questions:

1. What is the best H-model form and geographic unit to include in biomass models to minimise site-level uncertainty in estimates of destructive biomass?

2. To what extent does including H estimates derived in (1) reduce uncertainty in biomass estimates across all 327 plots?

3. What effect does accounting for H have on plot- and continental-scale forest biomass estimates?

The mean relative error in biomass estimates of destructively harvested trees when including H (mean 0.06), was half that when excluding H (mean 0.13). Power- and Weibull-H models provided the greatest reduction in uncertainty, with regional Weibull-H models preferred because they reduce uncertainty in smaller-diameter classes (≤40 cm D) that store about one-third of biomass per hectare in most forests. Propagating the relationships from destructively harvested tree biomass to each of the 327 plots from across the tropics shows that including H reduces errors from 41.8 Mg ha⁻¹ (range 6.6 to 112.4) to 8.0 Mg ha⁻¹ (−2.5 to 23.0). For all plots, aboveground live biomass was −52.2 Mg ha⁻¹ (−82.0 to −20.3 bootstrapped 95% CI), or 13%, lower when including H estimates, with the greatest relative reductions in estimated biomass in forests of the Brazilian Shield, east Africa, and Australia, and relatively little change in the Guiana Shield, central Africa and southeast Asia. Appreciably different stand structure was observed among regions across the tropical continents, with some storing significantly more biomass in small diameter stems, which affects selection of the best height models to reduce uncertainty and biomass reductions due to H. After accounting for variation in H, total biomass per hectare is greatest in Australia, the Guiana Shield, Asia, central and east Africa, and lowest in east-central Amazonia, W. Africa, W. Amazonia, and the Brazilian Shield (descending order). Thus, if tropical forests span 1668 million km² and store 285 PgC (estimate including H), then applying our regional relationships implies that carbon storage is overestimated by 35 PgC (31–39 bootstrapped 95% CI) if H is ignored, assuming that the sampled plots are an unbiased statistical representation of all tropical forest in terms of biomass and height factors. Our results show that tree H is an important allometric factor that needs to be included in future forest biomass estimates to reduce error in estimates of tropical carbon stocks and emissions due to deforestation.

Item ID: 24363
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1726-4189
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Date Deposited: 01 Jan 2013 23:19
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040699 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience not elsewhere classified @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 50%
SEO Codes: 82 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8201 Forestry > 820104 Native Forests @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960303 Climate Change Models @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 20%
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