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Biomass estimation in mangrove forests: a comparison of allometric models incorporating species and structural information

Rahman, Md Saidur and Donoghue, Daniel N M and Bracken, Louise J and Mahmood, Hossain (2021) 'Biomass estimation in mangrove forests: a comparison of allometric models incorporating species and structural information.', Environmental Research Letters, 16 (12). p. 124002.


Improved estimates of aboveground biomass (AGB) are required to improve our understanding of the productivity of mangrove forests to support the long-term conservation of these fragile ecosystems which are under threat from many natural and anthropogenic pressures. To understand how individual species affects biomass estimates in mangrove forests, five species-specific and four genus-specific allometric models were developed. Independent tree inventory data were collected from 140 sample plots to compare the AGB among the species-specific models and seven frequently used pan-tropical and Sundarbans-specific generic models. The effect of individual tree species was also evaluated using model parameters for wood densities (from individual trees to the whole Sundarbans) and tree heights (individual, plot average and plot top height). All nine developed models explained a high percentage of the variance in tree AGB (R2 = 0.97–0.99) with the diameter at breast height and total height (H). At the individual tree level, the generic allometric models overestimated AGB from 22% to 167% compared to the species-specific models. At the plot level, mean AGB varied from 111.36 Mg ha−1 to 299.48 Mg ha−1, where AGB significantly differed in all generic models compared to the species-specific models (p  < 0.05). Using measured species wood density (WD) in the allometric model showed 4.5%–9.7% less biomass than WD from published databases and other sources. When using plot top height and plot average height rather than measured individual tree height, the AGB was overestimated by 19.5% and underestimated by 8.3% (p  < 0.05). The study demonstrates that species-specific allometric models and individual tree measurements benefit biomass estimation in mangrove forests. Tree level measurement from the inventory plots, if available, should be included in allometric models to improve the accuracy of forest biomass estimates, particularly when upscaling individual trees up to the ecosystem level.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.
Date accepted:21 October 2021
Date deposited:17 November 2021
Date of first online publication:15 November 2021
Date first made open access:17 November 2021

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