TEAM Network - Early Warning System for Nature

Forest Carbon Calculator

Forest Carbon Calculator
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Technical Details

Technical details – Carbon estimation from field measurements

Forest carbon was estimated following the GOLD-GOFC guidelines for monitoring and measuring carbon (GOLD-GOFC, 2008) by using statistical relationships between tree biomass, tree diameter and wood density. Forest carbon has been shown to vary between tropical forests as a function of climatic variables, in particular precipitation. Chave et al. (2005) show that the power of allometric relationships for predicting forest carbon increases when these relationships are fit separately for forests with different precipitation regimes (wet forests, moist forests, dry forests; see Chave et al. 2005 for definitions). The recommended equations for wet and moist forests are:

Wet Forests:

    Equation 1

Moist Forests:

    Equation 2

where:  =  wood density (g/cm3)
         D = tree diameter (cm)
         AGB = above ground biomass (kg)

Summing AGB for all trees over the plot results in plot AGB (plot_AGB). Assuming that 50% of tree biomass is Carbon, convert to Tons of Carbon (C):

Ideally, wood density values should be obtained for each species or genus. In the absence of genus or species-specific wood densities, average stand values can be used. The following average stand values of wood density () were used for the TEAM sites (Chave et al. 2005):

Caxiuana and Manaus: 0.69 g/cm3
Volcan Barva: 0.60 g/ cm3




Chave, J., Andalo, Brown, S., Cairns, M.A., Chambers, J.Q., Eamus, D., Folster, H., Fromard, F., Higuchi, N., Kira, T., Lescure, J.-P., Nelson, B.W., Ogawa, H., Puig, H., Riera, B. and T. Ymakura. 2005. Tree allometry and improved estimation of carbon stocks and balance in tropical forests. Oecologia, 145:97-99.

GOFC-GOLD, 2008. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and in developing countries: a sourcebook of methods and procedures monitoring, measuring and reporting, GOFC-GOLD Report version COP13-2, (GOFC-GOLD Project Office, Natural Resources Canada, Alberta, Canada).