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National-Scale Biomass Estimators for United States Tree Species

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Estimates of national-scale forest carbon (C) stocks and fluxes are typically based on allometric regression equations developed using dimensional analysis techniques. However, the literature is inconsistent and incomplete with respect to large-scale forest C estimation. We compiled all available diameter-based allometric regression equations for estimating total aboveground and component biomass, defined in dry weight terms, for trees in the United States. We then implemented a modified meta-analysis based on the published equations to develop a set of consistent, national-scale aboveground biomass regression equations for U.S. species. Equations for predicting biomass of tree components were developed as proportions of total aboveground biomass for hardwood and softwood groups. A comparison with recent equations used to develop large-scale biomass estimates from U.S. forest inventory data for eastern U.S. species suggests general agreement (±30%) between biomass estimates. The comparison also shows that differences in equation forms and species groupings may cause differences at small scales depending on tree size and forest species composition. This analysis represents the first major effort to compile and analyze all available biomass literature in a consistent national-scale framework. The equations developed here are used to compute the biomass estimates used by the model FORCARB to develop the U.S. C budget. FOR. SCI. 49(1):12–35.

Keywords: Allometric equations; environmental management; forest; forest biomass; forest inventory; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; global carbon cycle; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Research Forester George D. Aiken Forestry Sciences Laboratory, USDA Forest Service, 705 Spear Street, South Burlington, VT, 05403, Current Address: School of Natural Resources, University of Vermont, 590 Main St., Burlington, VT, Phone: (802) 656 2: Enterprise Business Owner Forest Inventory Research, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 96090 Washington, DC, 20090-6090, 3: Research Forester Louis C. Wyman Forestry Sciences Laboratory, USDA Forest Service, 271 Mast Road, Durham, NH, 03824, 4: Program Manager Northern Global Change Program, USDA Forest Service, 11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200, Newtown Square, PA, 19073,

Publication date: February 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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