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Carbon Estimation

by mhowell last modified 2007-03-09 10:24

Soil with rootStudies of tree growth physiology across a broad range of tree species on many sites indicate that there is a relatively constant relationship between above and belowground living tree biomass.  This ratio of the above to belowground biomass (often referred to as the shoot to root ratio) is approximately 4:1 or, in other words, ~20% of total tree biomass is belowground.  As such, estimation of the carbon in belowground coarse root biomass (including tap root) is easily achieved by utilizing aboveground biomass estimates and multiplying by 1.25. 

               Belowground coarse root biomass = aboveground tree biomass x 0.25

Participants in a carbon registries can utilize the data they have generated under the aboveground accounting schemes to include belowground coarse root biomass.

Actually, direct measurements of belowground coarse root biomass are extremely difficult and costly, have high uncertainty, and lack a standard protocol.  As such, direct measurements made by registry participants is unlikely.