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Estimating seasonal aboveground biomass of a riparian pioneer plant community: An exploratory analysis by canopy structural data

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

  • Zhaofei Wen
  • Maohua Ma
  • Ce Zhang
  • Xuemei Yi
  • Jilong Chen
  • Shengjun Wu
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Ecological Indicators
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)441-450
Early online date21/09/17
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The aboveground biomass (AGB) of vegetation is of central importance for ecosystem services by providing a measure of productivity. Models have been developed for estimating AGB via canopy structural variables in both fundamental and applied ecological studies. However, the potential of canopy structural variables for describing AGB dynamics throughout a growing season are still unclear. This study focuses on the AGB seasonal dynamics of a pioneer community, Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. (Bermuda grass), in a newly-formed riparian habitat at China’s Three Gorges Reservoir. The objectives are (1) to determine the most important structural variable for estimating AGB at different growing stages during the season, and (2) to develop a model that can estimate AGB at the different growing stages and using multiple structural variables. We sampled the C. dactylon community six times during the growing season from May to September 2016. Six variables were engaged in the analysis, including five canopy structural variables, i.e., canopy height (H), canopy cover (CC), leaf area index (LAI), the volume related variables VLAI (H × LAI) and VCC (H × CC), and one seasonal growth effect variable (SV). We conducted univariate linear regression analysis to determine the most important estimator of AGB and the best subset regression analysis were used to develop the AGB estimation model. The detected most important AGB estimator changed with different growing stages throughout a season. Canopy structural characteristics of the community are key factors for determining such changes. Cover was the most important variable for AGB estimation during the early growing season and VLAI was the most important variable in the mid and end of the growing season. The developed best multivariate models explained an additional 11% in AGB variance on average for the different growing stages compared with the univariate models using the most important estimators. SV was found to be useful in developing an acceptance general AGB estimation model appropriate for the entire growing season. The findings of this study are expected to provide knowledge for guiding sampling work and to assist with modeling AGB and understanding the AGB seasonal dynamics in the future.

Bibliographic note

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Ecological Indicators. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Ecological Indicators, 83, 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.07.048