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Contrasting above-ground biomass balance in a Neotropical rain forest


  • Co-ordinating Editor: Dr. Sandor Bartha.

Rutishauser, E. (corresponding author, & Nicolini, E.-A. ( Cirad – UMR AMAP, BP 709, 97379 Kourou Cedex, French Guiana
Wagner, F. ( & Herault, B. ( Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, UMR EcoFoG, BP 709, 97379 Kourou Cedex, French Guiana
Rutishauser, E., Wagner, F. & Blanc, L. ( Cirad – UMR EcoFoG, BP 709, 97379 Kourou Cedex, French Guiana


Question: What are the relative roles of tree growth, mortality and recruitment in variations of above-ground biomass in tropical forests?

Location: Paracou, French Guiana.

Methods: We quantified the contribution of growth, recruitment and mortality to total biomass of stands (trees DBH≥10 cm) in six 6.25-ha permanent plots over 16 yr. Live biomass stocks and fluxes were computed for four separate size classes.

Results: All plots showed increasing biomass stocks over the study period, with an average value of +0.9 Mg ha−1 yr−1. Plots aggrading biomass were characterized by either minor biomass losses due to mortality or substantial increases in the biomass of large trees (DBH≥60 cm).

Conclusions: Within the study period, the rarity of mortality events could not counter-balance the slow permanent increase in biomass, resulting in an apparent increase in biomass. Accounting for such rare events results in no net change in biomass balance.