Novel 3D geometry and models of the lower regions of large trees for use in carbon accounting of primary forests
Dean, C and Kirkpatrick, JB and Osborn, J and Doyle, RB and Fitzgerald, NB and Roxburgh, SH, Novel 3D geometry and models of the lower regions of large trees for use in carbon accounting of primary forests, AOB Plants, 10, (2) Article ply015. ISSN 2041-2851 (2018) [Refereed Article]
There is high uncertainty in the contribution of land-use change to anthropogenic climate change, especially pertaining to below-ground carbon loss resulting from conversion of primary-to-secondary forest. Soil organic carbon (SOC) and coarse roots are concentrated close to tree trunks, a region usually unmeasured during soil carbon sampling. Soil carbon estimates and their variation with land-use change have not been correspondingly adjusted. Our aim was to deduce allometric equations that will allow improvement of SOC estimates and tree trunk carbon estimates, for primary forest stands that include large trees in rugged terrain. Terrestrial digital photography, photogrammetry and GIS software were used to produce 3D models of the buttresses, roots and humus mounds of large trees in primary forests dominated by Eucalyptus regnans in Tasmania. Models of 29, in situ eucalypts were made and analysed. 3D models of example eucalypt roots, logging debris, rainforest tree species, fallen trees, branches, root and trunk slices, and soil profiles were also derived. Measurements in 2D, from earlier work, of three buttress ‘logs’ were added to the data set. The 3D models had high spatial resolution. The modelling allowed checking and correction of field measurements. Tree anatomical detail was formulated, such as buttress shape, humus volume, root volume in the under-sampled zone and trunk hollow area. The allometric relationships developed link diameter at breast height and ground slope, to SOC and tree trunk carbon, the latter including a correction for senescence. These formulae can be applied to stand-level carbon accounting. The formulae allow the typically measured, inter-tree SOC to be corrected for not sampling near large trees. The 3D models developed are irreplaceable, being for increasingly rare, large trees, and they could be useful to other scientific endeavours.