Skip to main content
[Translate to English:]
© Andreas Bolte
[Translate to English:]
Institute of

WO Forest Ecosystems


Belowground biomass of forest trees

Root systems of trees store up to one third of the carbon fixed in forests. Quantitative studies of the biomass and the carbon storage in entire root systems are labor-intensive and difficult. Biomass functions can help by estimating the root biomass from parameters above ground like tree diameter and height that are easier to assess. However, for those models data are missing in particular for larger forest trees.

The german forests are an important carbon storage and have a great influence on the climate change but they are also affected by it. Up to one thirdof the carboncanbe compoundin the rootsof the trees. However,quantitativestudies onbelow-ground biomassare rare.

Background and Objective

The main objective is to develop biomass functions for the tree root biomass of the native oak species and silver birch. Furthermore, we will test the validity of a previously developed biomass function for Scots pine in Brandenburg for a nation-wide application. The newly established biomass functions should help to determine the below-ground biomass and the carbon stock in root systems more accurately. This will support the further development and improvement of the greenhouse gas reporting for Germany.


Root systems of up to 50 trees of native oaks species, silver birch and Scots pine (outside of Brandenburg) shall be excavated and examined. Therefore, we will select trees with a large variation of tree dimension, in particular including large trees with an diameter at breast-height (dbh) over 40 cm. The sampled trees will be pulled down with a winch, fractionated, dried and weight afterwards. Biomass functions will be derived from allometric regression functions of parameters above ground (dbh, height) and root system biomass.

Funding Body

  • Federal Ministry of Food und Agriculture (BMEL)
    (national, öffentlich)


1.2014 - 12.2016

More Information

Project funding number: 28WB403401
Funding program: Waldklimafonds (Programmbestandteil des Sondervermögens Energie- und Klimafonds)
Project status: finished


  1. 0

    Röhling S, Demant B, Dunger K, Neubauer M, Oehmichen K, Riedel T, Stümer W (2019) Equations for estimating belowground biomass of Silver Birch, Oak and Scots Pine in Germany. iForest 12(2):166-172, DOI:10.3832/ifor2862-012

  2. 1

    Neubauer M, Demant B, Bolte A (2015) Einzelbaumbezogene Schätzfunktionen zur unterirdischen Biomasse der Wald-Kiefer (Pinus sylvestris L.). Forstarchiv 86(2):42-47

Scroll to top