Estimating Large Area Forest Carbon Stocks—A Pragmatic Design Based Strategy
Reducing uncertainty in forest carbon estimates at local and regional scales has become increasingly important due to the centrality of the terrestrial carbon cycle in issues of climate change. In Victoria, Australia, public natural forests extend over 7.2 M ha and constitute a significant and important carbon stock. Recently, a wide range of approaches to estimate carbon stocks within these forests have been developed and applied. However, there are a number of data and estimation limitations
... ssociated with these studies. In response, over the last five years, the State of Victoria has implemented a pragmatic plot-based design consisting of pre-stratified permanent observational units located on a state-wide grid. Using the ground sampling grid, we estimated aboveground and belowground carbon stocks (including soil to 0.3 m depth) in both National Parks and State Forests, across a wide range of bioregions. Estimates of carbon stocks and associated uncertainty were conducted using simple design based estimators. We detected significantly more carbon in total aboveground and belowground components in State Forests (408.9 t ha −1 , 95% confidence interval 388.8-428.9 t ha −1 ) than National Parks (267.6 t ha −1 , 251.9-283.3 t ha −1 ). We were also able to estimate forest carbon stocks (and associated uncertainty) for 21 strata that represent all of Victoria's bioregions and public tenures. It is anticipated that the lessons learnt from this study may support the discussion on planning and implementing low cost large area forest carbon stock sampling in other jurisdictions.