Estimation of merchantable bole volume and biomass above sawlog top in the National Forest inventory of the United States
Emerging markets for small-diameter roundwood along with a renewed interest in forest biomass for energy have created a need for estimates of merchantable biomass above the minimum sawlog top diameter for timber species in the national forest inventory of the United States. The Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program of the USDA Forest Service recently adopted the component ratio method for estimation of aboveground live tree component biomass, which incorporates regionally specific volume models by species and species group. The merchantable bole component is the biomass of sound wood from a 1.0-ft stump height to a minimum 4.0-in. top diameter. Minimum sawlog top diameters for softwoods and hardwoods in the FIA program are substantially larger than the merchantable bole top diameter, leaving additional bole biomass potentially available for utilization. This article describes a method for estimating merchantable bole biomass for the sawlog component and the component above the minimum sawlog top diameter for timber species in the FIA program.