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New insights on above ground biomass and forest attributes in tropical montane forests

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Marion PfeiferORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Despite the potential of tropical montane forests to store and sequester substantial amounts of carbon,little is known about the above ground biomass (AGB) and the factors affecting it in these ecosystems,especially in Africa. We investigated the height-diameter allometry, AGB, and related differences inAGB to taxonomic and structural forest attributes in three distinct forest types (dry, mixed species andelfin) in three mountains of northern Kenya. We established 24 permanent plots (20 m  100 m) andsampled all trees 10 cm diameter following standard Rainfor protocols.We identified that different height-diameter allometric models could be used for different foreststypes, with the exception of the Michaelis–Menten model. In our study area, model choice had littleeffects on AGB estimates.In general, mixed forests had greater AGB than other forest types: in Mt Nyiro AGB estimates were 611,408 and 241 Mg ha1 for mixed, elfin and dry forests respectively. Forests in Mt Nyiro, the highest mountainhad greater AGB than in the other mountains. In our study area, differences in AGB were related toforest structure attributes, with little influence of taxonomic attributes. The mixed and elfin forests in MtNyiro, dominated by Podocarpus latifolius and Faurea saligna contained comparable AGB to lowland rainforests,highlighting the importance of tropical montane forests as large carbon stock, which could bereleased if converted to another land cover type.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cuni-Sanchez A, Pfeifer M, Marchant R, Calders K, Sorensen CL, Pompeu PV, Lewis SL, Burgess ND

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Forest Ecology and Management

Year: 2017

Volume: 399

Pages: 235-246

Print publication date: 01/09/2017

Online publication date: 02/06/2017

Acceptance date: 16/05/2017

Date deposited: 06/06/2017

ISSN (print): 0378-1127

ISSN (electronic): 1872-7042

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2017.05.030


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