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National scale biomass estimators for United States tree species

Informally Refereed
Authors: Jennifer C. Jenkins, David C. Chojnacky, Linda S. Heath, Richard A. Birdsey
Year: 2003
Type: Miscellaneous Publication
Station: Northern Research Station
Source: Forest Science. 49: 12-35


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 t o develop the U.S. C budget.


Allometric equations, forest biomass, forest inventory, global carbon cycle


Jenkins, Jennifer C.; Chojnacky, David C.; Heath, Linda S.; Birdsey, Richard A. 2003. National scale biomass estimators for United States tree species. Forest Science. 49: 12-35