Generalized allometric equations stratified by forest types have been found to explain most of the variation in above-ground carbon in tropical forests. The case study above illustrates a procedure for physically sampling stratified sites to give a certain level of sampling error, and the process of measuring and applying an allometric equation to the calculation of carbon stocks in plantations and old growth forests.
Survey efficiency can be greatly increased by the establishment of a sufficient number of permanent plots which are measured at regular intervals. The stratification by forest types, such as evergreen broadleaf or semi-deciduous dry forest as well as by their condition, for example primary, logged or secondary, further increases survey efficiency, carbon stocks being estimated for each forest stratum. A survey matrix can then be built up of carbon stocks by strata at the country level (Gibbs et al., 2007). Developing countries may find that such comprehensive ground-based inventories can be developed economically. However, deforestation is high in the least developed countries. Where resource constraints preclude sampling throughout a country's forests, data for typical strata can then be used to develop models that will predict carbon stocks for any given forest stratum. Web-based data delivery systems would allow free and open access to the collated data for forest strata derived from field measurements.
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