Annals of Forest Science

, Volume 70, Issue 6, pp 589–599 | Cite as

Variation in biomass expansion factors for China’s forests in relation to forest type, climate, and stand development

  • Yunjian LuoEmail author
  • Xiaoke WangEmail author
  • Xiaoquan Zhang
  • Yin Ren
  • Hendrik Poorter
Original Paper



Biomass expansion factors (BEFs, defined as the ratios of tree component biomass (branch, leaf, aboveground section, root, and whole) to stem biomass) are important parameters for quantifying forest biomass and carbon stock. However, little information is available about possible causes of the variability in BEFs at large scales.


We examined whether and how BEFs vary with forest types, climate (mean annual temperature, MAT; mean annual precipitation, MAP), and stand development (stand age and size) at the national scale for China.


Using our compiled biomass dataset, we calculated values for BEFs and explored their relationships to forest types, climate, and stand development.


BEFs varied greatly across forest types and functional groups. They were significantly related to climate and stand development (especially tree height). However, the relationships between BEFs and MAT and MAP were generally different in deciduous forests and evergreen forests, and BEF–climate relationships were weaker in deciduous forests than in evergreen forests and pine forests.


To reduce uncertainties induced by BEFs in estimates of forest biomass and carbon stock, values for BEFs should be applied for a specified forest, and BEF functions with influencing factors (e.g., tree height and climate) should be developed as predictor variables for the specified forest.


Biomass expansion factors Forest type Temperature Precipitation Stand development China 



This study was supported by the Strategic Priority Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) (XDA05060102 and XDA05050602), National Natural Science Foundation of China (31200363 and 31270588), National Forestry Public Welfare Program of China (201304205 and 201204604), CAS/SAFEA International Partnership Program for Creative Research Teams (KZCX2-YW-T08), CAS Knowledge Innovation Program (KZCX-2-YW-453), CAS Youth Innovation Program (Y2L0331D60), and Fujian Provincial Science and Technology Program (2011Y0052). We thank Dr. Xiaohua Wei (The University of British Columbia), the anonymous reviewers, and the handling editor for their valuable comments on the manuscript, and also thank Dr. Jonathan Vause (Chinese Academy of Sciences) for his helpful language polishing.


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Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Urban Environment and Health, Xiamen Key Laboratory of Urban MetabolismInstitute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of SciencesXiamenChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.The Nature Conservancy China ProgramBeijingChina
  4. 4.IBG-2 Plant SciencesForschungszentrum JülichJülich GmbHGermany

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