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Above- and belowground biomass in a Brazilian Cerrado

Ribeiro, Sabina Cerruto, Fehrmann, Lutz, Soares, Carlos Pedro Boechat, Jacovine, Laércio Antônio Gonçalves, Kleinn, Christoph, de Oliveira Gaspar, Ricardo
Forest ecology and management 2011 v.262 no.3 pp. 491-499
aboveground biomass, basal area, belowground biomass, branches, case studies, cerrado, deforestation, ecosystems, environmental factors, equations, forests, grasslands, leaves, models, prediction, root shoot ratio, savannas, species diversity, tree trunk, trees, wood density, Brazil
Cerrado is a biome that occupies about 25% of the Brazilian territory and is characterized by a gradient of grassland to savanna and forest formations and by high species richness. It has been severely affected by degradation and deforestation and has been heavily fragmented over the past 4–5 decades. Despite the recognized overall ecological importance of the Cerrado, there are only few studies focusing on the quantification of biomass in this biome. We conducted such a case study in the South-East of Brazil in a cerrado sensu stricto (cerrado s.s.) with the goal to produce estimates of above- and belowground biomass and to develop allometric equations. A number of 120 trees from 18 species were destructively sampled and partitioned into the components: leaves, branches and bole. Five models with DBH (D), height (H), D²H and wood density (WD) as independent variables were tested for the development of allometric models for individual tree aboveground biomass (leaves+branches+bole). One model based on basal area (BA) as a stand parameter was also tested as an alternative approach for predicting aboveground biomass in the stand level. Belowground biomass was estimated by subsampling on 10 sample plots. Mean aboveground tree biomass (bole, branches and leaves) was estimated to be 62,965.5kgha⁻¹(SE=14.6%) and belowground biomass accounted for 37,501.8kgha⁻¹ (SE=23%). The best-fit equation for the estimation of individual tree aboveground biomass include DBH and wood density as explanatory variables (R²=0.898; SEE=0.371) and is applicable for the diameter range of this study (5.0–27.6cm) and in environments with similar conditions of the cerrado s.s. sampled. In the stand level, the model tested presented a higher goodness of fit than the single tree models (R²=0.934; SEE=0.224). Our estimates of aboveground biomass are higher than reported by other studies developed in the same physiognomy, but the estimates of belowground biomass are within the range of values reported in other studies from sites in cerrado s.s. Both biomass estimates, however, exhibit relatively large standard errors. The root-to-shoot ratio of the sample trees is in the magnitude of reported values for savanna ecosystems, but smaller than estimated from other studies in the cerrado s.s.