Biomass dynamics in a logged forest: the role of wood density

Vu Thanh Nam*, Niels P.R. Anten, Marijke van Kuijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Wood density (WD) is believed to be a key trait in driving growth strategies of tropical forest species, and as it entails the amount of mass per volume of wood, it also tends to correlate with forest carbon stocks. Yet there is relatively little information on how interspecific variation in WD correlates with biomass dynamics at the species and population level. We determined changes in biomass in permanent plots in a logged forest in Vietnam from 2004 to 2012, a period representing the last 8 years of a 30 years logging cycle. We measured diameter at breast height (DBH) and estimated aboveground biomass (AGB) growth, mortality, and net AGB increment (the difference between AGB gains and losses through growth and mortality) per species at the individual and population (i.e. corrected for species abundance) level, and correlated these with WD. At the population level, mean net AGB increment rates were 6.47 Mg ha−1 year−1 resulting from a mean AGB growth of 8.30 Mg ha−1 year−1, AGB recruitment of 0.67 Mg ha−1 year−1 and AGB losses through mortality of 2.50 Mg ha−1 year−1. Across species there was a negative relationship between WD and mortality rate, WD and DBH growth rate, and a positive relationship between WD and tree standing biomass. Standing biomass in turn was positively related to AGB growth, and net AGB increment both at the individual and population level. Our findings support the view that high wood density species contribute more to total biomass and indirectly to biomass increment than low wood density species in tropical forests. Maintaining high wood density species thus has potential to increase biomass recovery and carbon sequestration after logging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-621
JournalJournal of Plant Research
Issue number4
Early online date30 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Biomass
  • Carbon dynamics
  • Demographic rates
  • Tropical forest
  • Vietnam


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