A tool for estimating impacts of woody encroachment in arid grasslands: Allometric equations for biomass, carbon and nitrogen content in Prosopis velutina

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Regression equations were developed to estimate above ground biomass and carbon and nitrogen mass of foliage and stem size fractions from plant size dimensions (basal diameter, canopy area, height, canopy volume) for a tall shrub species (Prosopis velutina) that has increased in abundance in arid and semi-arid grasslands in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. Regression equations were also developed to describe relationships among the dimensions of plant size. All equations were significant (p < 0.001); and all but two had r2 values >0.72. In addition to species-specific information, we found support for the global patterns of foliar biomass increasing to the 3/4 power of stem biomass and height increasing to the 1/2 power of stem diameter. We provide a comprehensive report of all equations, which can support a variety of in situ (ground-based), modeling, and remote-sensing objectives related to quantifying changes in ecosystem function and carbon sequestration accompanying changes in woody plant abundance. We advocate that comprehensive reporting should become more common for arid and semi-arid woody species in order to support a broad spectrum of users while laying the foundation for the development of global generalizations similar to those available for forest trees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-42
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013



  • Allometry
  • Basal diameter
  • Canopy area
  • Canopy volume
  • Power function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Ecology

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