, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 389–399 | Cite as

Coarse root biomass for eucalypt plantations in Tasmania, Australia: sources of variation and methods for assessment

  • Sigrid C. Resh
  • Michael Battaglia
  • Dale Worledge
  • Sven Ladiges
Original Article


This study develops a feasible method for evaluating coarse root biomass (roots >2 mm diameter) of well established plantations of eucalypts and then examines coarse root biomass variability across tree age and size, fertilization treatment, species and site for Eucalyptus globulus and E. nitens in Tasmania, Australia. The most efficient sampling protocol consisted of rootball excavation and soil coring for bulk coarse roots, which when compared with total tree excavation estimated total coarse root biomass contained inside the sampled area to within 10%. Across all treatments, an average of 76% of the coarse root biomass was located within the rootball. The majority (>65%) of the coarse roots outside the rootball were located in the surface 20 cm of soil. When size class distribution was examined, 75% of coarse root biomass was found to occur in the larger (20+ mm) diameter size class, a size class that displayed considerable spatial heterogeneity. At the stand level, coarse root biomass ranged from 2.18 to 7.38 kg m−2 depending primarily on tree size but also on fertilization treatment, species and site. It is estimated that allocation to coarse root biomass production was around 0.2 kg m−2 year−1 (around 6% of estimated NPP) for the E. nitens stands examined in this study and around 1 kg m−2 year−1 (around 20% of estimated NPP) for the E. globulus stand examined. Robust relationships using above-ground parameters could be used to predict coarse root biomass regardless of fertilization or site, but species changed the relationship.


Above-ground and below-ground biomass Coarse root Eucalyptus Size class distribution Site 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sigrid C. Resh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Battaglia
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dale Worledge
    • 2
  • Sven Ladiges
    • 1
  1. 1.Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Production ForestrySandy BayAustralia
  2. 2.CSIRO Forestry and Forest ProductsHobartAustralia

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