Below-ground biomass is defined as the entire biomass of all live roots, although fine roots less than 2 mm in diameter are often excluded because these cannot easily be distinguished empirically from soil organic matter. Below-ground biomass is an important carbon pool for many vegetation types and land-use systems and accounts for about 20% (Santantonio et al. 1997) to 26% (Cairns et al. 1997) of the total biomass. Below-ground biomass accumulation is linked to the dynamics of above-ground biomass. The greatest proportion of root biomass occurs in the top 30 cm of the soil surface (Bohm 1979; Jackson et al. 1996). Revegetation of degraded land leads to continual accumulation of below-ground biomass whereas any disturbance to topsoil leads to loss of below-ground biomass.

Since below-ground biomass could account for 20– 26% of the total biomass, it is important to estimate this pool for most carbon mitigation as well as other landbased projects. Estimation of stock changes in below-ground biomass is also necessary for greenhouse gas inventory at national level for different land-use categories such as forest lands, cropland and grassland. This chapter presents methods of estimating and monitoring below-ground biomass.


Root Biomass Allometric Equation Biomass Equation Carbon Mitigation Carbon Inventory 
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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

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