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Forest Biomass of China: An Estimate Based on the Biomass-Volume Relationship

Jing-Yun Fang, G. Geoff Wang, Guo-Hua Liu and Song-Ling Xu
Ecological Applications
Vol. 8, No. 4 (Nov., 1998), pp. 1084-1091
Published by: Wiley
DOI: 10.2307/2640963
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2640963
Page Count: 8
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Forest Biomass of China: An Estimate Based on the Biomass-Volume Relationship
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Abstract

In this study, a method was developed to estimate the forest biomass of China based on the relationship between stand biomass and volume. Biomass-volume relationships were quantified for all the main forest types in China using 758 sets of data obtained from direct field measurements. These relationships were used to convert volume measurements into total biomass values (above- and belowground dry masses) based on 1984-1988 forest inventory data for China. The latter had been compiled from more than 250 000 permanent and temporary field plots across the country. This data contained information on forest area and timber volume for each age class and site class for all forest types at the provincial level. As a result, the total forest biomass of China was estimated as 9103 Tg (1 Tg = 1012 g), with 8592, 326, and 185 Tg from forests, special product plantations, and bamboo forests, respectively. The area-weighted mean biomass density was 84 Mg/ha (1 Mg = 106 g). For comparison, two additional estimates, one based on the mean biomass density method and another based on the mean ratio of biomass to stem volume, were also derived. Compared to the biomass-volume relationship method, the mean biomass density method considerably overestimated the forest biomass of China (by 59.6%), while the mean ratio of biomass to stem volume method slightly underestimated it (by 12.1%). Despite the small forest biomass value due to a low forest cover, the area-weighted mean biomass density was comparable to those of other regions in the middle and high latitudes except in the United States. We believe that our study provided not only an appropriate estimate of forest biomass for China, but also an improved methodology for estimating forest biomass at the regional, national, and global level.

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