Closing a gap in tropical forest biomass estimation: Taking crown mass variation into account in pantropical allometries

Ploton Pierre, Barbier Nicolas, Momo S.T., Rejou-Mechain Maxime, Boyemba Bosela Faustin, Chuyong George B., Dauby Gilles, Droissart Vincent, Fayolle Adeline, Goodman Rosa C., Henry Matieu, Kamdem N.G., Katembo Mukirania J., Kenfack David, Libalah M., Ngomanda Alfred, Rossi Vivien, Sonké Bonaventure, Texier Nicolas, Thomas D.W., Zebaze Donatien, Couteron Pierre, Berger Uta, Pélissier Raphaël. 2016. Closing a gap in tropical forest biomass estimation: Taking crown mass variation into account in pantropical allometries. Biogeosciences, 13 : pp. 1571-1585.

Journal article ; Article de recherche ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact Revue en libre accès total
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Quartile : Q1, Sujet : GEOSCIENCES, MULTIDISCIPLINARY / Quartile : Q1, Sujet : ECOLOGY

Abstract : Accurately monitoring tropical forest carbon stocks is an outstanding challenge. Allometric models that consider tree diameter, height and wood density as predictors are currently used in most tropical forest carbon studies. In particular, a pantropical biomass model has been widely used for approximately a decade, and its most recent version will certainly constitute a reference in the coming years. However, this reference model shows a systematic bias for the largest trees. Because large trees are key drivers of forest carbon stocks and dynamics, understanding the origin and the consequences of this bias is of utmost concern. In this study, we compiled a unique tree mass dataset on 673 trees measured in five tropical countries (101 trees > 100 cm in diameter) and an original dataset of 130 forest plots (1 ha) from central Africa to quantify the error of biomass allometric models at the individual and plot levels when explicitly accounting or not accounting for crown mass variations. We first showed that the proportion of crown to total tree aboveground biomass is highly variable among trees, ranging from 3 to 88 %. This proportion was constant on average for trees < 10 Mg (mean of 34 %) but, above this threshold, increased sharply with tree mass and exceeded 50 % on average for trees ≥ 45 Mg. This increase coincided with a progressive deviation between the pantropical biomass model estimations and actual tree mass. Accounting for a crown mass proxy in a newly developed model consistently removed the bias observed for large trees (> 1 Mg) and reduced the range of plot-level error from −23–16 to 0–10 %. The disproportionally higher allocation of large trees to crown mass may thus explain the bias observed recently in the reference pantropical model. This bias leads to far-from-negligible, but often overlooked, systematic errors at the plot level and may be easily corrected by accounting for a crown mass proxy for the largest trees in a stand, thus suggesting that the accuracy of forest carbon estimates can be significantly improved at a minimal cost. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : forêt tropicale, séquestration du carbone, Biomasse, biomasse aérienne des arbres, Allométrie, Biométrie, Inventaire forestier, Modèle mathématique, Diamètre à hauteur de poitrine, Diamètre, Mesure, Carbone

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Cameroun, Ghana, Madagascar, Pérou

Classification Agris : K01 - Forestry - General aspects
U30 - Research methods

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 6 (2014-2018) - Sociétés, natures et territoires

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Ploton Pierre, IRD (FRA)
  • Barbier Nicolas, IRD (FRA)
  • Momo S.T., IRD (FRA)
  • Rejou-Mechain Maxime, IRD (FRA)
  • Boyemba Bosela Faustin, UNIKIS (COD)
  • Chuyong George B., Université de Buéa (CMR)
  • Dauby Gilles, ULB (BEL)
  • Droissart Vincent, IRD (FRA)
  • Fayolle Adeline, Université de Liège (BEL)
  • Goodman Rosa C., Yale University (USA)
  • Henry Matieu, FAO (ITA)
  • Kamdem N.G., ULB (BEL)
  • Katembo Mukirania J., University of Kisangani (COD)
  • Kenfack David, Harvard University (USA)
  • Libalah M., ULB (BEL)
  • Ngomanda Alfred, IRET (GAB)
  • Rossi Vivien, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (CMR) ORCID: 0000-0001-5458-1523
  • Sonké Bonaventure, Université de Yaoundé (CMR)
  • Texier Nicolas, IRD (FRA)
  • Thomas D.W., Oregon State University (USA)
  • Zebaze Donatien, Université de Yaoundé (CMR)
  • Couteron Pierre, IRD (FRA)
  • Berger Uta, Technische Universitaet Dresden (DEU)
  • Pélissier Raphaël, IRD (FRA)

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