Journal cover Journal topic
Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Biogeosciences, 9, 3381-3403, 2012
http://www.biogeosciences.net/9/3381/2012/
doi:10.5194/bg-9-3381-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
27 Aug 2012
Tree height integrated into pantropical forest biomass estimates
T. R. Feldpausch1, J. Lloyd1,2, S. L. Lewis1,3, R. J. W. Brienen1, M. Gloor1, A. Monteagudo Mendoza4, G. Lopez-Gonzalez1, L. Banin1,5, K. Abu Salim6, K. Affum-Baffoe7, M. Alexiades8, S. Almeida9,†, I. Amaral10, A. Andrade10, L. E. O. C. Aragão11, A. Araujo Murakami12, E. J. M. M. Arets13, L. Arroyo12, G. A. Aymard C.14, T. R. Baker1, O. S. Bánki15, N. J. Berry16, N. Cardozo17, J. Chave18, J. A. Comiskey19, E. Alvarez20, A. de Oliveira10, A. Di Fiore21, G. Djagbletey22, T. F. Domingues23, T. L. Erwin24, P. M. Fearnside10, M. B. França10, M. A. Freitas9, N. Higuchi10, E. Honorio C.1, Y. Iida25, E. Jiménez26, A. R. Kassim27, T. J. Killeen28, W. F. Laurance29, J. C. Lovett30, Y. Malhi31, B. S. Marimon32, B. H. Marimon-Junior32, E. Lenza32, A. R. Marshall33,34, C. Mendoza35, D. J. Metcalfe36, E. T. A. Mitchard37, D. A. Neill38, B. W. Nelson39, R. Nilus40, E. M. Nogueira10, A. Parada12, K. S.-H. Peh41, A. Pena Cruz42, M. C. Peñuela26, N. C. A. Pitman43, A. Prieto44, C. A. Quesada10, F. Ramírez17, H. Ramírez-Angulo45, J. M. Reitsma46, A. Rudas47, G. Saiz48, R. P. Salomão9, M. Schwarz1, N. Silva49, J. E. Silva-Espejo50, M. Silveira51, B. Sonké52, J. Stropp53, H. E. Taedoumg52, S. Tan54, H. ter Steege55, J. Terborgh43, M. Torello-Raventos2, G. M. F. van der Heijden56,57, R. Vásquez42, E. Vilanova58, V. A. Vos59,60, L. White61,62,63, S. Willcock1, H. Woell64, and O. L. Phillips1 1School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
2School of Earth and Environmental Science, James Cook University, Cairns, Qld 4870, Australia
3Department of Geography, University College London, UK
4RAINFOR/Jardín Botánico de Missouri, Peru
5School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster, Cromore Road, Coleraine, BT52 1SA, UK
6Biology Programme, Faculty of Science, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Tungku Link Road BE1410, Brunei Darussalam
7Resource Management Support Centre, Forestry Commission of Ghana, P.O. Box 1457, Kumasi, Ghana
8New York Botanical Garden, New York City, New York 10458, USA
9Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Av. Magalhães Barata, 376, São Braz, 66040-170, Belém, PA, Brazil
10National Institute for Research in Amazonia (INPA), C.P. 478, Manaus, Amazonas, 69011-970, Brazil
11Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ, UK
12Museo de Historia Natural Noel Kempff Mercado, Universidad Autonoma Gabriel Rene Moreno, Casilla 2489, Av. Irala 565, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
13Centre for Ecosystem Studies, Alterra, Wageningen University and Research Centre, P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
14UNELLEZ-Guanare, Programa de Ciencias del Agro y el Mar, Herbario Universitario (PORT), Mesa de Cavacas, Estado Portuguesa 3350, Venezuela
15IBED, University of Amsterdam, POSTBUS 94248, 1090 GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands
16School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH9 3JN, UK
17Universidad Nacional de la Amazonía Peruana, Iquitos, Loreto, Perú
18Université Paul Sabatier, Laboratoire EDB, bâtiment 4R3, 31062 Toulouse, France
19Mid-Atlantic Network, Inventory and Monitoring Program, National Park Service, 120 Chatham Lane, Fredericksburg, VA 22405, USA
20Jardin Botanico de Medellin, Colombia
21Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, SAC 5.150 Mailcode C3200, Austin, TX 78712, USA
22Ecosystem and Climate Change Division (ESCCD) Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), U.P. Box 63, KNUST-Kumasi, Ghana
23Instituto de Astronomia, Geofísica e Ciências Atmosféricas, Universidade de São Paulo, 05508-090, Brazil
24Department of Entomology, Smithsonian Institution, P.O. Box 37012, MRC 187, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA
25Graduate School of Environmental Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, 060-0810, Japan
26Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Kilómetro 2 Via Tarapacá, Leticia, Amazonas, Colombia
27Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), 52109 Kepong, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
28Conservation International, 2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 500, Arlington, VA 22202, USA
29Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science (TESS) and School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland 4878, Australia
30CSTM, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
31Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, UK
32Universidade do Estado de Mato Grosso, Campus de Nova Xavantina, Caixa Postal 08, CEP 78.690-000, Nova Xavantina, MT, Brazil
33CIRCLE, Environment Department, University of York, York, UK
34Flamingo Land Ltd., Kirby Misperton, YO17 6UX, UK
35FOMABO (Manejo Forestal en las Tierras Tropicales de Bolivia), Sacta, Bolivia
36CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Tropical forest Research Centre, P.O. Box 780, Atherton, QLD 4883, Australia
37School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Drummond St, Edinburgh, EH8 9XP, UK
38Universidad Estatal Amazónica, Facultad de Ingeniería Ambiental, Paso lateral km 2 1/2 via Napo, Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador
39National Institute for Research in Amazonia (INPA), Environmental Dynamics Department, C.P. 478, Manaus, Amazonas, CEP 69011-970, Brazil
40Forest Research Centre, Sabah Forestry Department, Sandakan, 90715, Malaysia
41Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, CB2 3EJ, UK
42Jardín Botánico de Missouri, Oxapampa, Pasco, Peru
43Center for Tropical Conservation, Duke University, Box 90381, Durham, NC 27708, USA
44Doctorado Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
45Universidad de Los Andes, Facultad de Ciencias Forestales y Ambientales, Mérida, Venezuela
46Bureau Waardenburg bv, P.O. Box 365, 4100 AJ Culemborg, The Netherlands
47Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia
48Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
49UFRA – Universidade Federal Rural da Amazônia, Brasil
50Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad del Cusco, Av. de la Cultura No. 733. Cusco, Peru
51Universidade Federal do Acre, Rio Branco AC 69910-900, Brazil
52Department of Biology, University of Yaoundé I, P.O. Box 047, Yaoundé, Cameroon
53European Commission – DG Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Via Enrico Fermi 274, 21010 Ispra, Italy
54Sarawak Forestry Corporation, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
55NCB Naturalis, PO Box, 2300 RA, Leiden, The Netherlands
56University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Department of Biological Sciences, P.O. Box 413, 53201, USA
57Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado 2072, Balboa, Republic of Panama
58Instituto de Investigaciones para el Desarrollo Forestal (INDEFOR), Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida, Venezuela
59PROMAB, Casilla 107, Riberalta, Beni, Bolivia
60Universidad Autonoma del Beni, Campus Universitario, Av. Ejército Nacional, final, Riberalta, Beni, Bolivia
61Agence National des Parcs Nationaux, Libreville, Gabon
62Institut de Recherche en Ecologie Tropicale (CENAREST), Gabon
63School of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling, UK
64Sommersbergseestr. 291, 8990 Bad Aussee, Austria
deceased
Abstract. Aboveground tropical tree biomass and carbon storage estimates commonly ignore tree height (H). We estimate the effect of incorporating H on tropics-wide forest biomass estimates in 327 plots across four continents using 42 656 H and diameter measurements and harvested trees from 20 sites to answer the following questions:

1. What is the best H-model form and geographic unit to include in biomass models to minimise site-level uncertainty in estimates of destructive biomass?

2. To what extent does including H estimates derived in (1) reduce uncertainty in biomass estimates across all 327 plots?

3. What effect does accounting for H have on plot- and continental-scale forest biomass estimates?

The mean relative error in biomass estimates of destructively harvested trees when including H (mean 0.06), was half that when excluding H (mean 0.13). Power- and Weibull-H models provided the greatest reduction in uncertainty, with regional Weibull-H models preferred because they reduce uncertainty in smaller-diameter classes (≤40 cm D) that store about one-third of biomass per hectare in most forests. Propagating the relationships from destructively harvested tree biomass to each of the 327 plots from across the tropics shows that including H reduces errors from 41.8 Mg ha−1 (range 6.6 to 112.4) to 8.0 Mg ha−1 (−2.5 to 23.0). For all plots, aboveground live biomass was −52.2 Mg ha−1 (−82.0 to −20.3 bootstrapped 95% CI), or 13%, lower when including H estimates, with the greatest relative reductions in estimated biomass in forests of the Brazilian Shield, east Africa, and Australia, and relatively little change in the Guiana Shield, central Africa and southeast Asia. Appreciably different stand structure was observed among regions across the tropical continents, with some storing significantly more biomass in small diameter stems, which affects selection of the best height models to reduce uncertainty and biomass reductions due to H. After accounting for variation in H, total biomass per hectare is greatest in Australia, the Guiana Shield, Asia, central and east Africa, and lowest in east-central Amazonia, W. Africa, W. Amazonia, and the Brazilian Shield (descending order). Thus, if tropical forests span 1668 million km2 and store 285 Pg C (estimate including H), then applying our regional relationships implies that carbon storage is overestimated by 35 Pg C (31–39 bootstrapped 95% CI) if H is ignored, assuming that the sampled plots are an unbiased statistical representation of all tropical forest in terms of biomass and height factors. Our results show that tree H is an important allometric factor that needs to be included in future forest biomass estimates to reduce error in estimates of tropical carbon stocks and emissions due to deforestation.


Citation: Feldpausch, T. R., Lloyd, J., Lewis, S. L., Brienen, R. J. W., Gloor, M., Monteagudo Mendoza, A., Lopez-Gonzalez, G., Banin, L., Abu Salim, K., Affum-Baffoe, K., Alexiades, M., Almeida, S., Amaral, I., Andrade, A., Aragão, L. E. O. C., Araujo Murakami, A., Arets, E. J. M. M., Arroyo, L., Aymard C., G. A., Baker, T. R., Bánki, O. S., Berry, N. J., Cardozo, N., Chave, J., Comiskey, J. A., Alvarez, E., de Oliveira, A., Di Fiore, A., Djagbletey, G., Domingues, T. F., Erwin, T. L., Fearnside, P. M., França, M. B., Freitas, M. A., Higuchi, N., E. Honorio C., Iida, Y., Jiménez, E., Kassim, A. R., Killeen, T. J., Laurance, W. F., Lovett, J. C., Malhi, Y., Marimon, B. S., Marimon-Junior, B. H., Lenza, E., Marshall, A. R., Mendoza, C., Metcalfe, D. J., Mitchard, E. T. A., Neill, D. A., Nelson, B. W., Nilus, R., Nogueira, E. M., Parada, A., Peh, K. S.-H., Pena Cruz, A., Peñuela, M. C., Pitman, N. C. A., Prieto, A., Quesada, C. A., Ramírez, F., Ramírez-Angulo, H., Reitsma, J. M., Rudas, A., Saiz, G., Salomão, R. P., Schwarz, M., Silva, N., Silva-Espejo, J. E., Silveira, M., Sonké, B., Stropp, J., Taedoumg, H. E., Tan, S., ter Steege, H., Terborgh, J., Torello-Raventos, M., van der Heijden, G. M. F., Vásquez, R., Vilanova, E., Vos, V. A., White, L., Willcock, S., Woell, H., and Phillips, O. L.: Tree height integrated into pantropical forest biomass estimates, Biogeosciences, 9, 3381-3403, doi:10.5194/bg-9-3381-2012, 2012.
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