Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Monitoring standing dead wood for carbon accounting in tropical savanna

R. J. Fensham
+ Author Affliations
- Author Affliations

Queensland Herbarium, Environmental Protection Agency, Mt Coot-tha Road, Toowong, Qld 4066, Australia. Email: Rod.Fensham@epa.qld.gov.au

Australian Journal of Botany 53(7) 631-638 https://doi.org/10.1071/BT04109
Submitted: 29 July 2004  Accepted: 8 September 2005   Published: 29 November 2005

Abstract

Changes in the biomass of dead wood can be substantial in tropical woodland and should be included in complete carbon budgets. A recent estimate of biomass changes from long-term, permanent monitoring sites within the eucalypt woodlands of Queensland suggests that carbon accumulated in dead standing wood is similar to the amount of carbon accumulated within live woody biomass. However, this assessment did not include trees that were dead at the commencement of monitoring but have since been burnt or fallen over. Original data are presented from a permanent monitoring site, suggesting that on average 27% of dead standing biomass is consumed per low-intensity fire. The consumption of standing dead wood by fire, together with likely ‘fall-down rates’, could offset a substantial proportion of recently estimated dead standing wood carbon sink. The potential for using existing allometric equations to ascribe biomass to the components of dead standing wood (trunks, branches, bark) on permanent monitoring plots is reviewed. Some valid generalisations can be recognised but a lack of standardisation in allometric studies presents problems. It is suggested that data from survey, monitoring and experiments could drive worthwhile models of dead standing wood biomass. This pool will probably vary substantially through time and space, depending on climatic conditions, fire and termite activity.


Acknowledgments

Russell Fairfax and Don Butler are thanked for assistance with data collection and comments on the manuscript. Rod Rogers, Madonna Hoffman provided feedback to ensure that the application of allometrics was appropriate. Gordon Guymer, John Neldner, Russell Fairfax and Bruce Wilson also provided valuable comments on the manuscript as it developed.


References


Allen CD, Breshears DD (1998) Drought-induced shift of a forest–woodland ecotone: rapid landscape response to climate variation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 95, 14 839–14 842.
CrossRef | open url image1

Back PV, Burrows WH, Hoffmann MB (1999) TRAPS: a method for monitoring the dynamics of trees and shrubs in rangelands. Proceedings of the VIth International Rangeland Congress 2, 742–744. open url image1

Baskerville GL (1972) Use of logarithmic regression in the estimation of plant biomass. Cannadian Journal of Forestry 2, 49–53. open url image1

Bowman DMJS, Zhang Y, Walsh A, Williams RJ (2003) Experimental comparison of four remote sensing techniques to map tropical savanna fire-scars using Landsat-TM imagery. International Journal of Wildland Fire 12, 341–348.
CrossRef | open url image1

Brown S (2002) Measuring carbon in forests: current status and future challenges. Environmental Pollution 116, 363–372.
CrossRef | PubMed | open url image1

Burrows WH (1976) Aspects of nutrient cycling in semi-arid mallee and mulga communities. PhD Thesis (Australian National University: Canberra)

Burrows WH, Hoffman MB, Compton JF, Back PV, Tait LJ (2000) Allometric relationships and community biomass estimates for some dominant eucalypts in central Queensland woodlands. Australian Journal of Botany 48, 707–714.
CrossRef | open url image1

Burrows WH, Henry BK, Back PV, Hoffman MB, Tait LJ, Anderson ER, Menke N, Danaher T, Carter JO, McKeon GM (2002) Growth and carbon stock change in eucalypt woodlands in northeast Australia: ecological and greenhouse sink implications. Global Change Biology 8, 769–784.
CrossRef | open url image1

Buxton RD (1981) Termites and the turnover of dead wood in an arid tropical environment. Oecologia 51, 379–384.
CrossRef | open url image1

Chen X (2002) Carbon balance of a eucalypt open forest savanna of northern Australia. PhD Thesis (Northern Territory University: Darwin)

Edwards A, Kennett R, Price O, Russell-Smith J, Spiers G, Woinarski J (2003) Monitoring the impacts of fire regimes on vegetation in northern Australia: an example from Kakadu National Park. International Journal of Wildland Fire 12, 427–440.
CrossRef | open url image1

Fensham RJ, Butler DW (2004) The spatial pattern of dry rainforest colonising unburnt Eucalyptus savanna. Austral Ecology 29, 121–128.
CrossRef | open url image1

Fensham RJ, Fairfax RJ (2003) A land management history for central Queensland, Australia as determined from landholder questionnaire and other sources. Journal of Environmental Management 68, 409–420.
CrossRef | PubMed | open url image1

Fensham RJ, Holman JE (1999) Temporal and spatial patterns in drought-related tree dieback in Australian savanna. Journal of Applied Ecology 36, 1035–1050.
CrossRef | open url image1

Fensham RJ, Fairfax RJ, Holman JE, Whitehead PJ (2002) Quantitative assessment of vegetation structural attributes from aerial photography. International Journal of Remote Sensing 23, 2293–2317.
CrossRef | open url image1

Fensham RJ, Fairfax RJ, Bowman DMJS, Butler DW (2003) Effects of fire and drought in a tropical eucalypt savanna colonised by rain forest. Journal of Biogeography 30, 1405–1414.
CrossRef | open url image1

Fox ID , Neldner VJ , Bannink PJ , Wilson BA , Brocklehurst PS , Clark MJ , Dickinson KJM , Beard JS , Hopkins AJM , Beeston GR , Harvey JM , Thompson EJ , Ryan T , Thompson SL , Butler DW , Cartan H , Addicott EP , Wilson GW , Bailey L , Cumming RJ , Johnson DC , Schmeider M , Stephens K (2000) A vegetation map for northern Australia. 1 : 2 000 000 scale. Queensland Herbarium, Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane.

Fox RE, Clark NB (1972) The incidence of termites in eucalypts of the Darwin area. Australian Forest Research 5, 29–36. open url image1

Harrington GN (1979) Estimation of above ground biomass of trees and shrubs in a Eucalyptus populnea F.Muell. woodland by regression of mass on trunk diameter and plant height. Australian Journal of Botany 27, 135–143. open url image1

Jeffrey SJ, Carter JO, Moodie KB, Beswick AR (2001) Using spatial interpolation to construct a comprehensive archive of Australian climate data. Journal of Environmental Modelling and Software 16, 309–330.
CrossRef | open url image1

Lee P (1998) Dynamics of snags in aspen-dominated midboreal forests. Forest Ecology and Management 105, 263–272.
CrossRef | open url image1

Liedloff AC, Coughenour MB, Ludwig JA, Dyer RM (2001) Modelling the trade-off between fire and grazing in a tropical savanna landscape, northern Australia. Environment International 27, 173–180.
CrossRef | PubMed | open url image1

O’Grady AP, Chen X, Eamus D, Hutley LB (2000) Composition, leaf area index and standing biomass of eucalypt forests near Darwin in the Northern Territory, Australia. Australian Journal of Botany 48, 629–638. open url image1

Paudyal D , Kuhnell C , Danaher TJ (1997) Detecting change in woody vegetation in Queensland using Landsat TM imagery. North Australian remote sensing and GIS conference proceedings, Cairns, Australia, April 1997.

Russell-Smith J, Yates C, Edwards A, Allan GE, Cook GD, Cooke P, Craig R, Heath B, Smith R (2003) Contemporary fire regimes of northern Australia, 1997–2001: change since Aboriginal occupancy, challenges for sustainable management. International Journal of Wildland Fire 12, 283–297.
CrossRef | open url image1

Scanlan JC (1991) Woody overstorey and herbaceous understorey biomass in Acacia harpophylla (brigalow) woodlands. Australian Journal of Ecology 16, 521–529. open url image1

Sinclair R (2004) Persistence of dead trees and fallen timber in the arid zone: 76 years of data from the T.G.B. Osborn Vegetation Reserve, Koonamore, South Australia. The Rangeland Journal 26, 111–122.
CrossRef | open url image1

Taylor RJ, Chisholm RA (2005) The occurrence of hollows in eucalypts and ironwood Erythrophleum chlorostachys in the Gulf region of the Northern Territory and its implications for timber harvesting. Pacific Conservation Biology 11, 57–63. open url image1

Viljoen AJ (1995) The influence of the 1991/92 drought on the woody vegetation of the Kruger National Park. Koedoe 38, 85–97. open url image1

Westman WE, Rogers RW (1977) Biomass and structure of a subtropical eucalypt forest, North Stradbroke Island. Australian Journal of Botany 25, 171–191. open url image1

Williams RJ, Cook GD, Gill AM, Moore PHR (1999) Fire regime, fire intensity and tree survival in a tropical savanna in northern Australia. Australian Journal of Ecology 24, 50–59.
CrossRef | open url image1

Williams RJ, Zerihun A, Montagu K, Hoffman M, Hutley LB, Chen XC (2005) Allometry for estimating aboveground tree biomass in tropical and subtropical eucalypt woodlands: towards general predictive equations. Australian Journal of Botany 53, 607–619. open url image1








Rent Article (via Deepdyve) Export Citation Cited By (4)