Strong density differences were observed between stem wood at 1.30 m and other tree components (stem wood, stem bark, knots, branch stumps and branches). The difference, up to 40% depending on the component, should be taken into account when estimating the biomass available for industrial uses, mainly fuelwood and wood for chemistry.
Context Basic density is a major variable in the calculation of tree biomass. However, it is usually measured on stem wood only and at breast height.
Aims The objectives of this study were to compare basic density of stem wood at 1.30 m with other tree components and assess the impact of differences on biomass.
Methods Three softwood species were studied: Abies alba Mill., Picea abies (L.) H. Karst., Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco. X-Ray computed tomography was used to measure density.
Results Large differences were observed between components. Basic density of components was little influenced by tree size and stand density. Overall, bark, knot and branch biomasses were highly underestimated by using basic density measured at 1.30 m.
Conclusion Using available wood density databases mainly based on breast height measurements would lead to important biases (up to more than 40%) on biomass estimates for some tree components. Further work is necessary to complete available databases.
Wood specific gravity; Bark; Knots; Branches; Softwoods
Billard, A., Bauer, R., Mothe, F. et al. Improving aboveground biomass estimates by taking into account density variations between tree components. Annals of Forest Science 77, 103 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13595-020-00999-1
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