Biomass allometry and carbon factors for a Mediterranean pine (Pinus pinea L.) in Portugal

Alexandra Cristina Correia, Margarida Tomé, Pacheco Carlos, Faias Sónia, Ana Dias, João Freire, Pedro Ochoa Carvalho, João Santos Pereira


Forests play an important role in the global carbon balance because they offset a large portion of the carbon dioxide emitted through human activities. Accurate estimates are necessary for national reporting of greenhouse gas inventories, carbon credit trading and forest carbon management but in Portugal reliable and accessible forest carbon measurement methodologies are still lacking for some species. The objective of this study was to provide forest managers with a comprehensive database of carbon factors and equations that allows estimating stand-level carbon stocks in Pinus pinea L. (P. pinea), regardless of the tree inventory information available. We produced aboveground biomass and stem volume equations, biomass expansion factors (BEF) by component as well as wood basic density (WBD) and component carbon fraction in biomass. A root-to-shoot ratio is also presented using data from trees in which the root system was completely excavated. We harvested 53 trees in centre and south Portugal covering different sizes (6.5 to 56.3 cm), ages (10 to 45 years) and stand densities (20 to 580 trees ha-1). The results indicate that aboveground allometry in P. pinea is not comparable with other pines and varies considerably with stand characteristics, highlighting the need to develop stand-dependent factors and equations for local or regional carbon calculations. BEFaboveground decreases from open (1.33±0.03 Mg m-3) to closed stands (1.07±0.01 Mg m-3) due to a change in biomass allocation pattern from stem to branches. Average WBD was 0.50±0.01 Mg m-3 but varies with tree dimensions and the root-to-shoot ratio found was 0.30±0.03. The carbon fraction was statistically different from the commonly used 0.5 factor for some biomass components. The equations and factors produced allow evaluating carbon stocks in P. pinea stands in Portugal, contributing to a more accurate estimation of carbon sequestered by this forest type.


Stone pine; carbon balance; climate change; biomass inventory

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2010193-9082