New Forests

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 429–455 | Cite as

Determinants and correlates of above-ground biomass in a secondary hillside rainforest in Central Vietnam

  • Roland Cochard
  • Yen Thi Van
  • Dung Tri Ngo


Despite inception of carbon-conservation forestry programs, information about total above-ground woody biomass (TAGB) in Vietnamese secondary lowland rainforests is still scarce. We elucidated major factors influencing local variation of TAGB within an anthropogenically modified hillside forest in Thừa Thiên-Huế Province. On forty 400 m2 sized plots all tree species were recorded, and their biomass was calculated using allometric equations. In addition, bio-physical parameters relating to terrain and soils were measured. Effects of bio-physical variables on forest TAGB were assessed using multivariate regression methods. Forest TAGB (average 117 Mg ha−1) was primarily explained by forest structural variables, i.e. tree densities and average heights, in particular presence of large trees. TAGB was largely determined by the biomass of a few species which dominated different forest parts (ridges or hill base); TAGB was hardly influenced by species diversity. Many dominant trees were light-demanding species; these were characterised by scarce rejuvenation and high tree mortality. Bio-physical patterns indicated that previous logging impacts persisted and continued to influence seedling establishment, sapling growth/survival, and—ultimately—species composition. Nutrient patterns were mostly explained by interactions with certain tree species and tree foliage cover, as modulated by terrain and logging impacts. Development trajectories of TAGB over the next 10–20 years could not be predicted easily since (1) many functionally important late-succession species (e.g. dipterocarps) were very scarce; (2) the sizes of initially established light-demanding species appeared to meet limits, including increasing tree mortality; and (3) rejuvenation and species succession differed locally and proceeded along largely unpredictable pathways. Some suggestions for further research are made.


Second-growth evergreen monsoon forest Above-ground woody biomass Forest regeneration Environmental gradients Soil nutrient patterns Multivariate analysis 



The study was supported financially by the MacArthur Foundation Scholarship Program and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Fellowship Program. Funding and coordination of the study was administratively facilitated by Professors Duong Viet Tinh and Dang Thai Duong (both HUAF), and Ganesh Shivakoti (AIT). Tran Minh Duc and Nguyen Hoi (all from HUAF) provided assistance in plant species identification. Wattanaporn Meskuntavon (AIT) was central for laboratory soil nutrient analysis. HUAF students helped in field work: Phan Trong Tri, Nguyen Van Trong, Nguyen Van Thong, Nguyen Thi Thanh, Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, Le Van Ninh, Nguyen Thanh Tay, Dau Thanh Long and Phan Dinh Hoai Bao. Thanks also go to Uncle Quang and other foresters in La Hy Forestry Department for providing field workers with food and accommodation.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 923 kb)
11056_2018_9628_MOESM2_ESM.docx (1.4 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 1394 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Geography and Sustainability, GéopolisUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry, Hue UniversityHue CityVietnam
  3. 3.Institute of Resources and Environment, Hue UniversityHue CityVietnam

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