Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:13 am
by dbhguru

Stimulated by your interest in the highest bio-mass values for forests, I've started reviewing data that I've collected over the years in MTSF, Cook Forest, Bryant and other outstanding white pine forests in the Northeast. I'm assuming that your using metric tons in the tons/hectare statistic.

Preliminary calculations point to some of the Mohawk areas as supporting upwards of 500 tons/Ha. However, I doubt that the mass ever makes it to 600, certainly no entire hectare holds that much. However, areas of the Pocumtuck Grove, Trees of Peace, and Algonquin Groves do exceed 500. As they get older, the stands thin, and even though individual tree size increases, the overall stand volume/mass does not increase. My current belief is that maximums for the white pines are reached for stand ages between 100 and 150 years. Beyond that age range, I believe that standing mass is lost through self-thinning faster than gains from increased tree size can make up the difference. I expect that there is ample forestry data that sheds light on the accumulation of mass as a function of stand age. But the data almost certainly have been developed from highly managed stands and with stand age cutoffs that don't apply to unmanaged forests.

Early on, I set out to develop a variety of statistics for Mohawk's white pine stands for the DCR. Nobody was doing it and it seemed to me that the data could be useful as a baseline for natural stand development. However, it soon became apparent that the Bureau of Forestry was not interested in the data so I began concentrating on collecting data along lines of my particular interests. Given the current day interest in biomass accumulation for carbon sequestration, I think I will double down and see if I can get a better handle on woody biomass in the Mohawk and probably Bryant white pine stands. But for the present, we might consider 500 tons/Ha as representing the best of the white pine forests in the Northeast.

One of my lists on white pines for Massachusetts covers the pines that I've modeled that have trunk volumes of 500 ft^3 or more. I've resisted going to meters^3 because when converted, the volumes are such small numbers that it doesn't seem sensible to be fretting over them. However, I'll likely express my lists in both English and metric units in the future.