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Allometric equations for young northern hardwoods: the importance of age-specific equations for estimating aboveground biomass

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Abstract:

Estimates of aboveground biomass and nutrient stocks are commonly derived using equations that describe tree dimensional relationships. Despite the widespread use of this approach, there is little information about whether equations specific to stand age are necessary for accurate biomass predictions. We developed equations for small trees (2–12 cm diameter) of six species in four young northern hardwood stands. We then compared our equations with equations used frequently in the literature that were developed in mature stands (Whittaker et al. 1974. Ecol. Monogr. 44: 233–252). Our equations for yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britt.) predicted 11%–120% greater stem wood for individual trees compared with the equations from Whittaker et al. and, on average, 50% greater aboveground yellow birch biomass in the four stands that we studied. Differences were less pronounced for sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) and American beech ( Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.); our equations predicted, on average, 9% greater aboveground stand biomass for sugar maple and 3% lower biomass for American beech compared with Whittaker et al. Our results suggest that stand age may be an important factor influencing the aboveground allometry and biomass of small yellow birch trees in these developing northern hardwood stands.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1139/x10-248

Affiliations: 1: Forest and Natural Resources Management, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 1 Forestry Drive, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA. 2: Center for Environmental Studies, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA. 3: Department of Forestry, 214 T.P. Cooper Building (office 103), Lexington, KY 40546-0073, USA.

Publication date: 2011-04-08

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