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Journal of Tropical Ecology

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Forest biomass -- Brazil -- Amazon River Region, Leaf area index, Allometry


This study provides an estimate of aboveground live biomass for an intact eastern Amazonian forest. An allometric regression biomass equation was developed to estimate the aboveground biomass of live lianas. This equation, together with a previously published equation for trees, was then used to estimate the contributions of lianas and trees to the total biomass of forest patches in four stature classes: gap (openings in the canopy of at least 25 m2 with the dominant vegetation < 3 m high), low (3±15 m canopy height), medium (15±25 m canopy height), and high (> 25 m canopy height). Total stand-level biomass was estimated as the weighted average of the stature classes. In 130 ha of surveyed forest, forest stature classes were found in the following proportions: gap phase 8%; low stature 31%; medium stature 44%; and high stature 17%. Total aboveground biomass was found to be three times higher in high stature forest than in low. Liana biomass, however, showed the opposite result, being three times higher in low stature forest. Stand-level aboveground live biomass was estimated at 314 t ha-1 of which 43 t ha-1 (14%) was lianas. Liana leaf area index (LAI) ranged from 1.3 m m-2 in high stature forest to 5.3 m m-2 in low stature. Abundant lianas are generally interpreted as a sign of past forest disturbance. As forests throughout the Amazon basin are increasingly disturbed through human activities, it is likely that their biomass will be underestimated if the contribution of lianas is ignored.


Originally appeared in Journal of Tropical Ecology, volume 16, issue 3, May 2000, pages 327-335. Version of record may be accessed at

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