pp 1–8 | Cite as

A simple method for leaf and branch biomass estimation in Japanese cedar plantations

  • Yoshiyuki InagakiEmail author
  • Asami Nakanishi
  • Takeshi Tange
Original Article


Key message

Leaf and branch biomass in middle-aged Japanese cedar plantations can be accurately estimated using a simple method based on the pipe model theory.


A simple method for estimating leaf and branch biomass is needed to properly manage forests of Japanese cedar, a major timber species in Japan. We developed a simple method, based on the pipe model theory, in which leaf biomass was estimated from tree height, height at the crown base, and stem area at breast height. The applicability of the method was examined in Japanese cedar plantations along a topographic gradient in five areas. In middle-aged forests (< 60 years old) in four areas, the leaf and branch biomass per unit stem area at the crown base did not differ between forests of different topographic position within the area. In contrast, the leaf and branch biomass per unit stem area at the crown base differed between the four areas. In old forests (> 80 years) in Chiba, leaf biomass per unit stem area at the crown base differed between six forests and was lower in larger trees within a particular forest. We conclude that the method investigated herein is applicable to middle-aged forests, but it needs to be modified for application to old forests.


Evergreen conifer Forest age Leaf biomass Pipe model theory Topography 



This work was partly funded by JSPS KAKENHI Grant (nos. 25450224, 26450193, 17K07840).

Author contributions

YI, AN, and TT designed the study, collected data, and conducted the statistical analyses. YI and AN conducted the field investigations. YI wrote the paper; all authors have reviewed and revised the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interests.

Supplementary material

468_2019_1920_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (130 kb)
Fig. S1 Allometric relationship of leaf biomass in Japanese cedar plantations. Fig. S2 Allometric relationship of branch biomass in Japanese cedar plantations (PPTX 130 kb)
468_2019_1920_MOESM2_ESM.docx (49 kb)
Table S1. Sample tree data in the study plots. Table S2. Location and stand properties of Japanese cedar plantations used for AB estimation. Table S3. Estimation of stem area at the crown base (AB). Table S4. Analysis of covariance for estimating leaf biomass from D2H or stem area at the crown base (AB) (DOCX 49 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shikoku Research Center, Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteKochiJapan
  2. 2.Kamigamo Experimental Station, Field Science Education and Research CenterKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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