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Allometric Equation Development, Biomass, and Aboveground Productivity in Ponderosa Pine Forests, Black Hills, Wyoming

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Temperate forest ecosystems continue to play an important role in the global carbon cycle, and the ability to accurately quantify carbon storage and allocation remains a critical tool for managers and researchers. This study was aimed at developing new allometric equations for predicting above- and belowground biomass of both mature trees and saplings of ponderosa pine trees in the Black Hills region of the western United States and at evaluating thinning effects on biomass pools and aboveground productivity. Study sites included three stands that had been commercially thinned and one unmanaged stand. Nine allometric equations were developed for mature trees, and six equations were developed for saplings; all models exhibited strong predictive power. The unmanaged stand contained more than twice as much total aboveground biomass as any of the thinned stands. Aboveground biomass allocation among tree compartments was similar among the three older stands but quite different from the young, even-aged stand. Stand-level aboveground net primary production was higher in the unmanaged and intensively managed stands, yet tree-level annual productivity was much lower in the unmanaged stands than in any of the managed forests, suggesting that thinning of some forest stands may increase their ability to sequester and store carbon. Our data also suggest that different management approaches did not have the same effect on carbon allocation as they did on total carbon storage capacity, but rather, stand age was the most important factor in predicting carbon allocation within individual trees and stands. Identification of the relationships between stand structure and forest management practices may help identify various management strategies that maximize rates of carbon storage in ponderosa pine forests.

Keywords: ANPP; biomass estimation; carbon estimation; forest management

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-07-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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