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Biomass plots

Biomass sampling
Tree-ring sampling for biomass investigations at the Swiss long-term monitoring plot in Vordemwald.
Measuring tree height
Stefan Klesse (WSL Doctoral Student) measuring tree height in a forest reserve in Northern Romania. Complementing tree-ring data with additional measurements of tree height, diameter, and position in stand facilitates the estimation of biomass accumulation in forests.

Forest ecosystems cover around 30% of the terrestrial land surface and on average absorb 1.1 +/- 0.8 petagrams of carbon each year – approximately 30% of annual anthropogenic emissions. However, the forest sink is highly variable in space and time and is associated with high uncertainties in both its magnitude as well as the driving ecological and climatic processes. Long-term and large-scale empirical data are thus required to improve our understanding of possible future trajectories of ecosystem services provided by forests.

WSL researchers, together with various colleagues at other institutions, are currently developing a network of biomass-oriented sampling plots across Switzerland, Europe, and the globe. Extensive tree-ring sampling at each study location is used to produce annually-resolved estimates of above-ground biomass in forest ecosystems.

On-going and recently completed projects

  • Carbo-Extreme: The terrestrial Carbon cycle under Climate Variability and Extremes -  a Pan-European synthesis
  • SNF-iTREE: an interdisciplinary research framework to better understand tree/forest growth in the context of changing natural environments

Selected Publications

Babst F, Bouriaud O, Alexander R, Trouet V, Frank D (2014) Towards consistent measurements of carbon accumulation: a multi-site assessment of biomass and basal area increment across Europe. Dendrochronologia. doi:10.1016/j.dendro.2014.01.002

Babst F, Bouriaud O, Papale D, Janssens I, Nikinmaa E, Ibrom A, Wu J, Bernhofer C, Köstner B, Grünwald T, Seufert G, Ciais P, Frank D (2014). Above‐ground woody carbon sequestration measured from tree rings is coherent with net ecosystem productivity at five eddy‐covariance sites. New Phytologist 201, 1289-1303.

Nehrbass-Ahles C, Babst F, Klesse S, Noetzli M, Bouriaud O, Neukom R, Dobbertin M, Frank D. (2014) The influence of sampling design on tree-ring based quantification of forest growth. Global Change Biology. doi:10.1111/gcb.12599