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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2010

Estimating the biomass and carbon pool of stump systems at a national scale

Petersson, Hans; Melin, Ylva


Countries that are signatories to the UNFCCC and its supplementary Kyoto Protocol are obliged to report changes in carbon pools. These should include the pool of carbon held in tree stumps and roots but, to date, few countries have been able to report this or separate it from the dead-wood pool. The aim of this study was to develop a general system for estimating and monitoring changes in stump system carbon using data from a traditional National Forest Inventory. The system was derived using data based on measurements of carbon (biomass) in inventoried permanent sample plots representing all relevant classes of land-use. With this design it was possible to trace matched carbon at the level of individual trees or stumps back to land-use prior to the 1990 baseline year. Between 1990 and 2003 in Sweden, the average annual net sink of stump systems was estimated to amount to 6.7 Mt CO(2) equiv.year(-1) - comparable to the reported net sink in 2008 of about 15 Mt CO(2) equiv.year(-1) from the whole Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry sector, which excluded any carbon in stump systems. In 2003 the carbon stock of stumps and roots was estimated at 495 Mt CO(2) equiv.; approximately five times that of the deadwood pool as defined in Sweden, i.e. dead wood that mainly consists of boles. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change requests that reported carbon should be matched to land-use and traced back to the 1990 base year; however, the present study confirms expectations that most carbon in stumps and roots is found on Forest land. The minimum requirements for estimating the carbon pool in stump systems at a national scale using the proposed methodology are that there should be: (i) a consistent time-series of harvest data, usually estimated as merchantable volume; (ii) conversion factors from merchantable volume to stump system biomass at death; and (iii) a representative decomposition model. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Carbon; Kyoto Protocol; Stumps; Sweden; Time-series; UNFCCC

Published in

Forest Ecology and Management
2010, Volume: 260, number: 4, pages: 466-471