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Above Ground Carbon

The CO2 fixed by photosynthesis is one of the most important components of the carbon cycle. Forests play a key role in this process. They represent large and persistent carbon sinks. Tree carbon stocks are important to quantify terrestrial carbon storage and carbon sinks, and to estimate potential emissions from land cover changes (deforestation, reforestation, afforestation) and from biotic (pests, diseases) and abiotic (forest fires, windstorms) disturbances. Spatially explicit data and assessments of forest biomass and carbon are thus paramount to design and implement effective sustainable forest management options and forest related policies. The above-ground carbon index presented in this dataset is expressed in Mg (megagrams or tonnes) of carbon per km2 . It corresponds to the carbon fraction of the oven-dry weight of the woody parts (stem, bark, branches and twigs) of all living trees, excluding stump and roots, as estimated by the GlobBiomass project ( with 2010 as the reference year.

Santoro, M., Cartus, O., Mermoz, S., Bouvet, A., Le Toan, T., Carvalhais, N., Rozendaal, D., Herold, M., Avitabile, V., Quegan, S., Carreiras, J., Rauste, Y., Balzter, H., Schmullius, C., Seifert, F.M., 2018, GlobBiomass global above-ground biomass and growing stock volume datasets, available on-line at OR Santoro, Maurizio (2018): GlobBiomass - global datasets of forest biomass. PANGAEA,


The GlobBiomass AGB estimates are not free from errors (local biases and substantial uncertainties), primarily in regions where the remote sensing data available had limited capability to resolve forest structures or in areas not sufficiently characterized in terms of wood density and biomass expansion factors. The biomass to carbon conversion factor of 0.5 here used is a good approximation of the typical carbon content in the biomass of terrestrial vegetation, and is consistent with the Good Practice Guidance in LULUCF by the IPCC (2003). There is however some variation for different tree species, different components of a tree or a stand and age of the stand, which may be accounted for in more detailed assessments. For more information, refer to:

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