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    Author(s): Xiaoping Zhou; Miles A. Hemstrom
    Date: 2009
    Source: Res. Pap. PNW-RP-584. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 18 p.
    Publication Series: Research Paper (RP)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.46 MB)


    Live tree biomass estimates are essential for carbon accounting, bioenergy feasibility studies, and other analyses. Several models are currently used for estimating tree biomass. Each of these incorporates different calculation methods that may significantly impact the estimates of total aboveground tree biomass, merchantable biomass, and carbon pools. Consequently, carbon markets, bioenergy projects, and similar efforts may be affected. In addition to differences in allometric equations, the various methods are most suitable for particular geographic scales of analysis. We examine three approaches that might be used for midscale analyses (e.g., 25,000 to several million acres) and compare the regional models with equations developed by Jenkins et al. and with the component ratio method (CRM). These three methods produce relatively similar estimates of total aboveground biomass for softwood species in Oregon, but substantially different estimates for the proportion of total biomass that is merchantable . For the major softwood species in Oregon, the total aboveground biomass using the CRM is 3 percent lower than estimates with regional equations, and the Jenkins models produce estimates that are 17 percent higher. However, on average, the proportion of softwood merchantable biomass computed with CRM is about 83 percent of the total aboveground biomass with little variation from species to species, whereas regional models estimate that 72 percent is merchantable, and the Jenkins equations estimate that 78 percent is merchantable.

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Zhou, Xiaoping; Hemstrom, Miles A. 2009. Estimating aboveground tree biomass on forest land in the Pacific Northwest: a comparison of approaches. Res. Pap. PNW-RP-584. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 18 p.


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    Biomass equations, Jenkins equations, component ratio method, forest inventory.

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