Biomass estimates of small diameter planted and natural-origin loblolly pines show major departures from the National Biomass Estimator equations
As southern pine forests (both planted and naturally regenerated) are more heavily used to provide biomass for the developing energy sectors and carbon sequestration, a better understanding of models used to characterize regional biomass estimates is needed. We harvested loblolly pines (Pinus taeda L.) between 0.5 and 15 cm dbh from several plantations and naturally regenerated stands in southeastern Arkansas to evaluate allometric relationships based on stand origin. In this process, each pine was separated into stemwood, branches + foliage, and taproot biomass components. Although the differences changed with dbh, loblolly pines from planted stands generally had greater percentages of biomass allocated to foliage + branches and taproots, whereas those from natural-origin stands had greater amounts in stemwood, aboveground, and total biomass. National Biomass Estimator (NBE) high-specific gravity pine equations predicted natural-origin aboveground biomass reasonably well. However, the same NBE model underpredicted aboveground biomass for small (<5 cm) diameter planted pine and overpredicted planted pines between 7 and 15 cm dbh. When scaled to stand-level estimates, the NBE models resulted in estimates for average stand diameters of 5, 10, and 15 cm that ranged from -18.6 to 2.1% for natural stands and from -21.9 to 62.8% for planted stands.