Uncertainty assessment

In general, the magnitude of uncertainty in dead organic matter pools is larger than the uncertainty in biomass estimates because much less data are typically available for DOM pools compared to biomass pools. Uncertainties in area estimates made using the approaches suggested in Chapter 3 are indicated in Table 3.7 and uncertainties in assessing dead organic matter carbon stock changes may be several times larger than the uncertainty of biomass stock change estimates using default coefficients.

Although relatively few estimates of uncertainty, in changes in carbon stock in DOM pools, are available in the literature or elsewhere, several sources of uncertainty can be identified for the estimates of changes in carbon stock in dead organic matter pools on Land Converted to Forest Land. First, the assumption that carbon stocks in DOM are zero in non-forest land is not always justified. Underestimating the true initial DOM stock size will lead to overestimates of the true accumulation rates. Second, the default values for litter and dead wood carbon stock sizes are likely to be biased by being based upon estimates from land that was Forest Land for a long period of time. Thus the stock sizes at the end of the transition period may be overestimated, again, leading to overestimates of the accumulation rates. Third, the default transition period may be too long for litter carbon stocks, leading to underestimates of the true accumulation rates. For the dead wood pool, however, the current default assumption of a 20-year transition period is likely to be too short. Thus, the rate of carbon accumulation in the dead wood pool may be overestimated.

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