iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


A model of shrub biomass accumulation as a tool to support management of Portuguese forests

Brigite Botequim (1)   , Ane Zubizarreta-Gerendiain (1-2), Jordi Garcia-Gonzalo (1), Andreia Silva (1), Susete Marques (1), Paulo M Fernandes (3), José MC Pereira (1), Margarida Tomé (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 8, Issue 2, Pages 114-125 (2015)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor0931-008
Published: Jul 27, 2014 - Copyright © 2015 SISEF

Research Articles

The evaluation of forest fuel loading is required by most fire management activities. However, the consideration of shrub biomass for forest planning purposes has been limited by the inability to predict its growth and accumulation. The main objective of this study was to model shrub biomass over time under a tree canopy to be able to include shrub management in fire risk mitigation plans. Data for this purpose was obtained from the 4th and 5th Portuguese National Forest Inventories. Five biologically realistic models were built to describe shrub biomass accumulation in Portuguese forests. The selected model indicates that maximum biomass is affected by stand basal area and the percentage of resprouting shrub species in the stand. Biomass growth rate was clearly affected by the regeneration strategies of shrubs in combination with climatic conditions (mean annual temperature). The model can be used in the accumulation form for initialization purposes or in one of the two alternative difference forms to project observed shrub biomass. The acquired ability to estimate shrub biomass facilitates its inclusion in forest growth models and simulators and will contribute to more accurate estimates of fire behaviour characteristics and stored carbon. This is instrumental to improve decision-making in forest management plans that integrate fire risk, namely to schedule understory fuel treatments.


Shrub Growth, Understory Vegetation, Wildfire Risk, Fire Management, Forest Planning, Decision Making

Authors’ address

Brigite Botequim
Ane Zubizarreta-Gerendiain
Jordi Garcia-Gonzalo
Andreia Silva
Susete Marques
José MC Pereira
Margarida Tomé
Universidade de Lisboa, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Centro de Estudos Florestais, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa (Portugal)
Ane Zubizarreta-Gerendiain
University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, Faculty of Science and Forestry, Joensuu (Finland)
Paulo M Fernandes
Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences (CITAB), University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Quinta de Prados, 5001-801 Vila Real (Portugal)

Corresponding author

Brigite Botequim


Botequim B, Zubizarreta-Gerendiain A, Garcia-Gonzalo J, Silva A, Marques S, Fernandes PM, Pereira JMC, Tomé M (2015). A model of shrub biomass accumulation as a tool to support management of Portuguese forests. iForest 8: 114-125. - doi: 10.3832/ifor0931-008

Academic Editor

Giorgio Matteucci

Paper history

Received: Dec 14, 2012
Accepted: Apr 15, 2014

First online: Jul 27, 2014
Publication Date: Apr 01, 2015
Publication Time: 3.43 months

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