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Evaluating revised biomass equations: are some forest types more equivalent than others?

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Carbon Balance and Management. 11(1): article 2.


Background: In 2014, Chojnacky et al. published a revised set of biomass equations for trees of temperate US forests, expanding on an existing equation set (published in 2003 by Jenkins et al.), both of which were developed from published equations using a meta-analytical approach. Given the similarities in the approach to developing the equations, an examination of similarities or differences in carbon stock estimates generated with both sets of equations benefits investigators using the Jenkins et al. (For Sci 49:12–34, 2003) equations or the software tools into which they are incorporated. We provide a roadmap for applying the newer set to the tree species of the US, present results of equivalence testing for carbon stock estimates, and provide some general guidance on circumstances when equation choice is likely to have an effect on the carbon stock estimate. Results: Total carbon stocks in live trees, as predicted by the two sets, differed by less than one percent at a national level. Greater differences, sometimes exceeding 10–15 %, were found for individual regions or forest type groups. Differences varied in magnitude and direction; one equation set did not consistently produce a higher or lower estimate than the other. Conclusions: Biomass estimates for a few forest type groups are clearly not equivalent between the two equation sets—southern pines, northern spruce-fir, and lower productivity arid western forests—while estimates for the majority of forest type groups are generally equivalent at the scales presented. Overall, the possibility of very different results between the Chojnacky and Jenkins sets decreases with aggregate summaries of those ‘equivalent’ type groups.


Biomass estimation; Allometry; Forest carbon stocks; Tests of equivalence; Individual-tree estimates by species group


Hoover, Coeli M.; Smith, James E. 2016. Evaluating revised biomass equations: are some forest types more equivalent than others? Carbon Balance and Management. 11(1): article 2. .

Last updated on: January 12, 2016