Palms Palms are a group of large tree-like plants with a single, tall, unbranched stem with a crown of large fan-shaped leaves. The height alone is adequate for estimating the biomass of palms since, in palms, biomass is more closely related to height than to DBH and the biomass equations are based only on height. If palms are present in the sample plots, adopt the following steps (Pearson et al. 2005b):
• Measure the height of the palm from base up to the point where the stem is no longer visible.
• If the plot has to be re-measured, mark it as appropriate.
• Record the plot number, palm number and height.
• If possible, harvest 20-30 palms of different heights to get the mean weight of the palm or classify them by height.
• Use the biomass estimation equations available for palms if required.
Lianas Lianas are woody perennial climbing plants with very long stem, which grows around trees right up to the top where there is more sunlight. Lianas are difficult to measure since they are often long, winding and cross the plot boundary at many places (Pearson et al. 2005b). Include lianas only if they are likely to constitute a significant proportion of the biomass of the plots. It is difficult to estimate the biomass of the lianas without harvesting them, and no biomass estimation equation is available for lianas.
Data recording formats have been developed for tree, shrub and herb species in sample plots. These formats are largely for use in the field. The data entered in these formats in the field need to be verified and entered into a database for analysis. Some of the precautions and steps to be followed to ensure correct recording in the field and proper compilation for obtaining reliable estimates of biomass are as follows:
• Use the appropriate data entry format for trees, shrubs and herbs.
• Remember to enter the location name, date, plot number, vegetation type and name of the field investigator.
• Enter and verify GPS readings of the plots.
• Enter and verify the units of height, DBH and weight.
• Ensure that all the relevant data-recording cells in the formats are filled before leaving the field.
• Verify the data recording formats as soon as possible after returning from the field for any corrections or conversion of traditional units of measurement to standard units such as the SI units.
• Codify any entry as required by converting qualitative information into codes, for example, presence or absence (0 or 1), land-use systems (1: agriculture, 2: grassland, 3: settlement, 4: tree plantations).
• Develop a user-friendly data entry system for computer analysis and for archiving data.
• Verify all the data entered and store them in a database.
The procedure for analysing the data to estimate above-ground biomass is presented in Chapter 17 and methods to estimate uncertainty in Chapter 18.
Long-term observations and monitoring are central to the study of almost every important ecological concept and every environmental issue. Long-term monitoring is extensively adopted in ecological studies to understand ecosystem changes, vegetation succession, carbon dynamics, biodiversity changes and other ecological processes (Franklin 1989). Long-term monitoring is critical to carbon inventory since carbon gains and losses occur over long periods, spanning decades and centuries. Above-ground biomass accumulates over decades and centuries, although it may peak sometime during that period. The peak time varies with forest type and plantation species. However, carbon stock could be lost from different land-use systems within a short time because of disturbance, especially in the form of fire, land conversion and harvesting. Long-term monitoring in the context of carbon inventory for above-ground biomass is required for such projects or situations as:
• Land conversion from forests or plantations to degraded land, cropland or grazing land
• Afforestation and reforestation of degraded lands to sequester carbon
• Avoided deforestation to conserve forest carbon sink
• Roundwood production and bioenergy plantation programmes
• Agroforestry and shelterbelt programmes
• Land reclamation projects
A long-term monitoring plan should be developed and incorporated into the project during the planning and project development phase and adopted during the post-implementation phase. This section briefly presents the methods for and steps in long-term monitoring of changes in above-ground biomass. Methods for long-term monitoring of above-ground biomass Many of the methods mentioned in Chapter 9 could be adopted for long-term monitoring. The two promising methods are permanent plot method and remote sensing techniques. Because remote sensing techniques with practical applications in land-based carbon mitigation projects, roundwood production programmes and national greenhouse gas inventory are still evolving, the permanent plot method is the most suitable one for long-term monitoring on account of the same merits mentioned in Chapter 9, namely cost-effectiveness, suitability to small and large projects and minimal staff and training requirements. The steps presented for plot method earlier in this chapter and described in Sections 10.1-10.13 are applicable to long-term monitoring. Here, only a few special features to be considered while planning and implementation of long-term monitoring studies are presented.
(i) Sampling Sampling methods involving selection of size, number and shape of the plots and the design for locating the plots are the same as those described earlier in Sections 10.6-10.10. For long-term monitoring, the quadrat method with a large plot size (e.g. 50 x 50 m) is desirable for revisits and measurements.
(ii) Location andlayoutofplots The plots should be located using the chosen sampling design using (Sections 10.9 and 10.10). For long-term monitoring, it is important to mark the plots in the field as well as on the map using GPS readings and with reference to any permanent landmark for easy identification on the ground.
(iii) Recording and archiving of data It is very important to develop formats for recording data in the field as well as entering them in a database.
(iv) Staff and training The staff involved in field and laboratory studies as well as data entry and analysis require training. In the long term, staff turnover in any project is quite likely. Therefore, it is important to maintain detailed guidelines and manuals on field and laboratory studies as well as data entry and analysis protocols.
Above-ground biomass is an important carbon pool for (i) all land-use categories for national greenhouse inventory, (ii) carbon mitigation projects, particularly tree-based projects, and (iii) roundwood production programmes. Among the multiple methods for estimating above-ground biomass, the plot method is covered in detail because it is simple, reliable, widely applicable and cost-effective. The critical components of the procedure are sampling and field measurement. The data gathered using the plot method will enable estimation of above-ground biomass stock, growth rate and stock changes. Above-ground biomass can be estimated for trees, forests, plantations, grasslands and croplands using the plot method. The procedure for analysis and estimation of carbon stocks in above-ground biomass is presented in Chapter 17. All the methods and steps presented in this chapter for carbon mitigation and roundwood production projects are fully applicable to forest inventories as well as carbon inventory for national greenhouse gas inventories from land-use categories. Adoption of permanent plot methods will enable long-term and periodic measurement and estimation of carbon stocks over any selected period.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.