Key message: This study developed and tested models to predict the belowground biomass and root/shoot ratio using aboveground field measures. The predictive power of such indirect measurement is useful for a rapid and reliable assessment of the biomass of the Mediterranean species. Context: Forest biomass estimation has been simplified by the availability of indirect methodologies for automatic measuring. However, most of the information on forest root systems is largely unexplored due to the difficulty in estimating belowground biomass (BGB) at large scale. A plausible approach to investigating forest BGB is to establish a relationship between a number of dendrometric parameters related to the aboveground vegetation (AGB) (e.g., tree diameter and height) and the belowground component of the total biomass. Aims: This work presents findings for indirect measurements of BGB in the typical Mediterranean landscapes focusing on sclerophyllous vegetation, specifically Phillyrea latifolia L. The purpose of the present study is twofold: (a) to develop a model explaining the BGB distribution of P. latifolia based on field data for dendrometric parameters, and (b) to understand how the ratio between BGB and AGB varies according to stem diameter as a proxy of plant growth. Methods: A total of 50 P. latifolia plants were randomly selected in the study areas and considered for excavation. Individual plants were analyzed to determine AGB and BGB development. A number of models were developed and tested to predict the BGB and root/shoot ratio using aboveground field measures. Allometric equations were employed to predict the AGB and BGB and relative partitioning in the Phillyrea community. Results: Models for P. latifolia AGB and BGB estimation that include crown diameter and stem height measures augment the models’ predictive power. When used alone, the predictive power of the root collar diameter appears to be overestimated, while its effect is stronger for a subset of observations with larger crown diameter and stem height. The root/shoot ratio values of plant species typically related to the Mediterranean context seem to be largely superior to the ratio values of trees and forests. Conclusions: The model is ideally suited to incorporate indirectly measured tree height for a rapid and reliable assessment of the biomass of single Mediterranean species. Further research might include replication of the same studies in different geographic areas of the Mediterranean and in-depth analyses of AGB. © 2015, INRA and Springer-Verlag France.

Estimating belowground biomass and root/shoot ratio of Phillyrea latifolia L. in the Mediterranean forest landscapes

LAFORTEZZA, RAFFAELE;GIANNICO, VINCENZO;COLANGELO, GIUSEPPE;SANESI, Giovanni
2015

Abstract

Key message: This study developed and tested models to predict the belowground biomass and root/shoot ratio using aboveground field measures. The predictive power of such indirect measurement is useful for a rapid and reliable assessment of the biomass of the Mediterranean species. Context: Forest biomass estimation has been simplified by the availability of indirect methodologies for automatic measuring. However, most of the information on forest root systems is largely unexplored due to the difficulty in estimating belowground biomass (BGB) at large scale. A plausible approach to investigating forest BGB is to establish a relationship between a number of dendrometric parameters related to the aboveground vegetation (AGB) (e.g., tree diameter and height) and the belowground component of the total biomass. Aims: This work presents findings for indirect measurements of BGB in the typical Mediterranean landscapes focusing on sclerophyllous vegetation, specifically Phillyrea latifolia L. The purpose of the present study is twofold: (a) to develop a model explaining the BGB distribution of P. latifolia based on field data for dendrometric parameters, and (b) to understand how the ratio between BGB and AGB varies according to stem diameter as a proxy of plant growth. Methods: A total of 50 P. latifolia plants were randomly selected in the study areas and considered for excavation. Individual plants were analyzed to determine AGB and BGB development. A number of models were developed and tested to predict the BGB and root/shoot ratio using aboveground field measures. Allometric equations were employed to predict the AGB and BGB and relative partitioning in the Phillyrea community. Results: Models for P. latifolia AGB and BGB estimation that include crown diameter and stem height measures augment the models’ predictive power. When used alone, the predictive power of the root collar diameter appears to be overestimated, while its effect is stronger for a subset of observations with larger crown diameter and stem height. The root/shoot ratio values of plant species typically related to the Mediterranean context seem to be largely superior to the ratio values of trees and forests. Conclusions: The model is ideally suited to incorporate indirectly measured tree height for a rapid and reliable assessment of the biomass of single Mediterranean species. Further research might include replication of the same studies in different geographic areas of the Mediterranean and in-depth analyses of AGB. © 2015, INRA and Springer-Verlag France.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11586/173166
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