GlobAllomeTree, a New Web Platform to Improve Assessment of Forest Biomass and Carbon Stocks
A novel platform to support UN-REDD pilot countries in improving the accuracy of forest carbon and carbon stock change assessments.
GlobAllomeTree is the first web-based platform designed to facilitate access to tree allometric equations and their use for volume, biomass and carbon assessment. It targets forest and climate-change project developers, researchers, scientists and foresters and intends to improve evaluation of forest resources.
Many forest services, such as timber and fuelwood production as well as climate change mitigation through the forestry sector for example require accurate estimations of tree and forest biomass and carbon stocks. Allometric equations are key in this respect since they are the most used tools for predicting forest volume or biomass from easy-to-measure tree characteristics (tree diameter, height or wood density for example).
The information contained in GlobAllomeTree is crucial to support national forest policies related to bioenergy, timber exploitation and adaptation and mitigation of climate change, in particular to REDD+. Using GlobAllomeTree, countries can easily access existing models and improve the accuracy of forest carbon and carbon stock change assessment.
The platform was jointly developed by FAO, the French Research Centre CIRAD (Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement) and the Department for Innovation in Biological, Agro-Food and Forest Systems at Tuscia University in Italy (UNITUS-DIBAF). Its launch follows a series of regional workshops in South America and Central Africa, training courses in four African and Asiatic countries including the Tree Allometric Equation Day held in FAO headquarters in June 2013.
Despite their importance and value for developing new models, the existing equations are often scattered among forest research centres, forest administrations and logging companies. To respond to this concern, the GlobAllomeTree platform provides:
- A consistent and harmonized database of tree and stand volume and biomass allometric equations
- A software to estimate carbon-related variables of interests, such as volume, biomass and carbon stocks
- Easy access to scientific research information on allometric equations
- Access to tutorials, manuals and documentation supporting the use and development of tree allometric equations
The GlobAllomeTree database has benefited from the collaboration of several international and national institutions. With the support from the UN-REDD Programme, CATIE in Costa Rica (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza) has collected allometric equations in South and Central America. In Viet Nam, six national institutes and the Viet Nam Forestry Administration came together to undertake research for the development of country-specific tree allometric equations and the establishment of a national database. Other institutions are also compiling collections of allometric equations, in South and South-East Asia.
Currently, 80 per cent of the models focus on biomass and the rest deal with tree volume. Ten tree families represent 80 per cent of the equations. There are huge disparities in the number of equations per ecological zones – for example, under the tropical rainforest category there are twice as many equations as under the category tropical dry forest; and temperate forest has four times as many equations as tropical rainforest. Much more work still needs to be done to develop equations and make them accessible to the wider public, so that accurate estimates of biomass and carbon stocks can be obtained for all major forest types.
The possibility for users to add new equations to the database and the development of new models will be crucial in improving the platform, which will constitute invaluable support in estimating forest services, such as climate change mitigation, fuelwood and timber production.
GlobAllomeTree products are accessible at: www.globallometree.org