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Estimation of root biomass based on excavation of individual root systems in a primary dipterocarp forest in Pasoh Forest Reserve, Peninsular Malaysia

  • Kaoru Niiyama (a1), Takuya Kajimoto (a2), Yojiro Matsuura (a3), Tamon Yamashita (a4), Naoko Matsuo (a5), Yuichiro Yashiro (a6), Azizi Ripin (a7), Abd. Rahman Kassim (a7) and Nur Supardi Noor (a7)...

Precise estimation of root biomass is important for understanding carbon stocks and dynamics in tropical rain forests. However, limited information is available on individual root masses, especially large trees. We excavated 121 root systems of various species (78) and sizes (up to 116 cm in dbh), and estimated both above- and below-ground biomass in a lowland primary dipterocarp forest in the Pasoh Forest Reserve, Peninsular Malaysia. A tree census was conducted in four research plots (each 0.2 ha) and stand-level biomass was estimated. We examined relationships between tree size parameters and masses of coarse roots (roots ≥5 mm in diameter) and derived a dbh-based allometric equation. The amounts of coarse roots that were lost during excavation were corrected. Coarse-root biomass before and after correction for lost roots was estimated to be 63.8 and 82.7 Mg ha−1, indicating that significant amounts of roots (23%) were lost during the sampling. We also estimated the biomass of small root (<5 mm) by applying pipe-model theory. The estimate, 13.3 Mg ha−1, was similar to another estimate of small roots, 16.4 Mg ha−1, which was obtained directly by the soil-pit sampling method. Total below-ground (BGB) and above-ground biomass (AGB) was estimated to be 95.9 and 536 Mg ha−1, respectively. The biomass-partitioning ratio (BGB/AGB) was about 0.18. In conclusion, the dbh-based allometric equation for coarse roots developed in this study, which kept good linearity even including the data of larger trees, might be useful for evaluating below-ground carbon stocks in other stands of similar forest (old-growth dipterocarp) in South-East Asia.

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