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Below- and above-ground biomass and net primary production in a paleotropical natural forest (Sulawesi, Indonesia) as compared to neotropical forests

Hertel, D., Moser, G., Culmsee, H., Erasmi, S., Horna, V., Schuldt, B., Leuschner, Ch.
Forest ecology and management 2009 v.258 no.9 pp. 1904-1912
tree growth, soil chemical properties, primary productivity, root systems, stems, wood, tropical forests, geographical variation, forest stands, carbon, forest growth, biomass, stand basal area, stand structure, leaves, shoots, Indonesia
Data on the biomass and productivity of southeast Asian tropical forests are rare, making it difficult to evaluate the role of these forest ecosystems in the global carbon cycle and the effects of increasing deforestation rates in this region. In particular, more precise information on size and dynamics of the root system is needed. In six natural forest stands at pre-montane elevation (c. 1000ma.s.l.) on Sulawesi (Indonesia), we determined above-ground biomass and the distribution of fine (d <2mm) and coarse roots (d >2mm), estimated above- and below-ground net production, and compared the results to literature data from other pre-montane paleo- and neotropical forests. The mean total biomass of the stands was 303Mgha⁻¹ (or 128MgCha⁻¹), with the largest biomass fraction being recorded for the above-ground components (286Mgha⁻¹) and 11.2 and 5.6Mgha⁻¹ of coarse and fine root biomass (down to 300cm in the soil profile), resulting in a remarkably high shoot:root ratio of c. 17. Fine root density in the soil profile showed an exponential decrease with soil depth that was closely related to the concentrations of base cations, soil pH and in particular of total P and N. The above-ground biomass of these stands was found to be much higher than that of pre-montane forests in the Neotropics, on average, but lower compared to other pre-montane forests in the Paleotropics, in particular when compared with dipterocarp forests in Malesia. The total above- and below-ground net primary production was estimated at 15.2Mgha⁻¹ yr⁻¹ (or 6.7MgCha⁻¹ yr⁻¹) with 14% of this stand total being invested below-ground and 86% representing above-ground net primary production. Leaf production was found to exceed net primary production of stem wood. The estimated above-ground production was high in relation to the mean calculated for pre-montane forests on a global scale, but it was markedly lower compared to data on dipterocarp forests in South-east Asia. We conclude that the studied forest plots on Sulawesi follow the general trend of higher biomasses and productivity found for paleotropical pre-montane forest compared to neotropical ones. However, biomass stocks and productivity appear to be lower in these Fagaceae-rich forests on Sulawesi than in dipterocarp forests of Malesia.