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      Nondestructive estimates of above‐ground biomass using terrestrial laser scanning

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          Rate of tree carbon accumulation increases continuously with tree size.

          Forests are major components of the global carbon cycle, providing substantial feedback to atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Our ability to understand and predict changes in the forest carbon cycle--particularly net primary productivity and carbon storage--increasingly relies on models that represent biological processes across several scales of biological organization, from tree leaves to forest stands. Yet, despite advances in our understanding of productivity at the scales of leaves and stands, no consensus exists about the nature of productivity at the scale of the individual tree, in part because we lack a broad empirical assessment of whether rates of absolute tree mass growth (and thus carbon accumulation) decrease, remain constant, or increase as trees increase in size and age. Here we present a global analysis of 403 tropical and temperate tree species, showing that for most species mass growth rate increases continuously with tree size. Thus, large, old trees do not act simply as senescent carbon reservoirs but actively fix large amounts of carbon compared to smaller trees; at the extreme, a single big tree can add the same amount of carbon to the forest within a year as is contained in an entire mid-sized tree. The apparent paradoxes of individual tree growth increasing with tree size despite declining leaf-level and stand-level productivity can be explained, respectively, by increases in a tree's total leaf area that outpace declines in productivity per unit of leaf area and, among other factors, age-related reductions in population density. Our results resolve conflicting assumptions about the nature of tree growth, inform efforts to undertand and model forest carbon dynamics, and have additional implications for theories of resource allocation and plant senescence.
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            Importance of biomass in the global carbon cycle

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              Is Open Access

              Fast Automatic Precision Tree Models from Terrestrial Laser Scanner Data

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Methods in Ecology and Evolution
                Methods Ecol Evol
                Wiley
                2041-210X
                2041-210X
                February 09 2015
                February 2015
                November 21 2014
                February 2015
                : 6
                : 2
                : 198-208
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Laboratory of Geo‐Information Science and Remote Sensing Wageningen University Droevendaalsesteeg 3 Wageningen 6708 PBThe Netherlands
                [2 ]CSIRO Land and Water Private Bag 10 Clayton South Vic.3169Australia
                [3 ]Department of Geography University College London Gower Street London WC1E 6BTUK
                [4 ]Melbourne School of Land and Environment University of Melbourne 500 Yarra Boulevard Richmond Vic. 3121Australia
                [5 ]Department of Mathematics Tampere University of Technology P.O. Box 553 FI‐33101Tampere Finland
                [6 ]Environmental Sensing Systems 16 Mawby Road Bentleigh East Vic.3165 Australia
                [7 ]NERC National Centre for Earth Observation UK
                [8 ]Remote Sensing Centre Department of Science Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts Ecosciences Precinct 41 Boggo Road Dutton Park Qld4102Australia
                [9 ]Joint Remote Sensing Research Programme School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management University of Queensland Brisbane Qld4072Australia
                Article
                10.1111/2041-210X.12301
                b1ebc9bc-941f-4ab8-96b2-43f58f974b60
                © 2015

                http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/termsAndConditions#vor

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1


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