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Estimating Aboveground Tree Biomass for Beetle-Killed Lodgepole Pine in the Rocky Mountains of Northern Colorado

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The recent mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) epidemic has affected millions of hectares of conifer forests in the Rocky Mountains. Land managers are interested in using biomass from beetle-killed trees for bioenergy and biobased products, but they lack adequate information to accurately estimate biomass in stands with heavy mortality. We destructively sampled live (n = 7) and mountain pine beetle-killed (n = 7) lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud.) trees in the northern Colorado Rocky Mountains to develop and compare diameter-based aboveground component biomass equations. We used the seemingly unrelated regression approach to simultaneously estimate the parameters in the system of allometric equations. The results show no significant difference in total aboveground biomass between live and dead trees. However, top, bark, and foliage components are significantly different between the two groups (P < 0.05). When logging residues (i.e., tree tops, branches, and foliage) are of interest as biomass feedstock, the allometric equations developed for beetle-killed trees could provide more accurate estimates of the resources available in beetle-killed stands than the existing live tree allometric equations.
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Keywords: allometry; bioenergy feedstock; logging residue; mountain pine beetle; seemingly unrelated regression

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2017-08-09

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  • 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.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
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