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Revista de Ciencias Ambientales

On-line version ISSN 2215-3896Print version ISSN 1409-2158


FONSECA-GONZALEZ, William; VILLALOBOS-CHACON, Ronny  and  ROJAS-VARGAS, Marilyn. Potential Mitigation of Climate Change of Deciduous Forest Ecosystems in Costa Rica: Predictive Models of Biomass and Carbon. Ciencias Ambientales [online]. 2019, vol.53, n.2, pp.111-131. ISSN 2215-3896.

Plant cover, mainly forests, plays a key role in mitigating climate change. Biomass and stored carbon were calculated for primary and secondary deciduous forests in the Northern Pacific region of Costa Rica, and predictive models for biomass and carbon were developed. Using random sampling of nested plots and the destructive method, the amount of arboreal and subterranean biomass of trees of average diameter, necromass and herbaceous vegetation were evaluated. The models were constructed for the entire tree and its components (trunk, roots, branches and leaves), using normal diameter as a predictor variable; in models to quantify biomass and carbon per hectare, basal area was used. All models fit the data well (R2> 0.93) and predict biomass and carbon with low estimation errors. The total biomass in the ecosystem was 140.0 Mg ha-1 (65.5 Mg C ha-1), with 93.6 % corresponding to biomass or carbon in trees. The carbon fraction among the components varied between 39.1% and 42.8%, while the biomass expansion factor to include leaves, branches and roots was 2.09; 1.69 to include leaves and branches, and 1.37 for roots alone. All the models chosen to estimate biomass or carbon are characterized by their ease of application, using either diameter or basal area as a predictor variable, both of which are simple to measure or calculate in any forest inventory. Biomass and carbon calculated at the ecosystem and tree levels, biomass carbon fraction values and expansion factors are within the ranges cited in other investigations, thus making them national indicators that facilitate more accurate estimations of the contribution of ecosystems to the mitigation of climate change.

Keywords : allometry; environmental services; forest inventory; tropical forest.

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