Background: National and international institutions periodically demand information on forest indicators that are used for global reporting. Among other aspects, the carbon accumulated in the biomass of forest species must be reported. For this purpose, one of the main sources of data is the National Forest Inventory (NFI), which together with statistical empirical approaches and updating procedures can even allow annual estimates of the requested indicators.
Methods: Stand level biomass models, relating the dry weight of the biomass with the stand volume were developed for the five main pine species in the Iberian Peninsula (Pinus sylvestris, Pinus pinea, Pinus halepensis, Pinus nigra and Pinus pinaster). The dependence of the model on aridity and/or mean tree size was explored, as well as the importance of including the stand form factor to correct model bias. Furthermore, the capability of the models to estimate forest carbon stocks, updated for a given year, was also analysed.
Results: The strong relationship between stand dry weight biomass and stand volume was modulated by the mean tree size, although the effect varied among the five pine species. Site humidity, measured using the Martonne aridity index, increased the biomass for a given volume in the cases of Pinus sylvestris, Pinus halepensis and Pinus nigra. Models that consider both mean tree size and stand form factor were more accurate and less
biased than those that do not. The models developed allow carbon stocks in the main Iberian Peninsula pine forests to be estimated at stand level with biases of less than 0.2 Mg∙ha− 1.
Conclusions: The results of this study reveal the importance of considering variables related with environmental conditions and stand structure when developing stand dry weight biomass models. The described methodology together with the models developed provide a precise tool that can be used for quantifying biomass and carbon stored in the Spanish pine forests in specific years when no field data are available.