Modelling biomass and leaf area index in a sub-arctic Scandinavian mountain area

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Estimates of biomass and leaf area index (LAI) are important variables in ecological and climate models. However, very little is known about the biomass and LAI of the vegetation in the Scandinavian mountain area. In this study, extensive field data consisting of diameter at breast height for 13 000 trees and height for 550 trees were collected. Furthermore, biomass and leaf area (LA) measurements for 46 mountain birch trees [ Betula pubescens ssp . czerepanovii (Orlowa) Hämet-Ahti] and biomass and LA measurements for shrubs (e.g. Salix spp., Betula nana ) at 36 sample plots were carried out. Multiplicative linear models for trees were fitted to tree biomass and LA measurements using basal area at breast height, height, crown diameter and diameter at stump height as explanatory variables. Additive linear models were fitted to shrub biomass and LAI measurements using coverage of shrubs, topographic variables and soil type as explanatory variables. The functions were then used to predict the biomass and LAI for trees and shrubs for the entire test area, which covers an area of 84 km 2 and is located at latitude 68° N. The mean total biomass estimates were 27 493 kg ha −1 for the forest and 7650 kg ha −1 for snow-protected heath and meadow vegetation. The LAIs were 2.06 and 0.52, respectively. For monitoring biomass and LAI in the Scandinavian mountain area, the functions could also be applied to data from traditional field-based inventories and the estimates might further be improved by combining the estimates from the test area with auxiliary information such as remote sensing images.

Keywords: Abisko; Betula pubescens ssp. czerepanovii; allometric relationship; ground vegetation; mountain birch; shrub layer

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Crop Protection Centre The Norwegian Crop Research Institute NO-1432 Ås Norway

Publication date: February 1, 2004

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