The global relationship between forest productivity and biomass

  • Keeling H
  • Phillips O
  • 322


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 101


    Citations of this article.


Aim We aim to determine the empirical relationship between above-ground forest productivity and biomass. There are theoretical reasons to assume a relationship between forest structure and function, as both may be influenced by similar ecological factors such as moisture supply. Also, dynamic global vegetation model simulations imply that any increase in forest productivity driven by climate change will result in increases in biomass and therefore carbon storage. However, few studies have explored the strength and form of the relationship between forest productivity and biomass, whether in space or time. LocationGlobal scale. Methods We collated a large data set of above-ground biomass (AGB) and above-ground net primary productivity (ANPP) and tested the extent to which spatial variation in forest biomass across the Earth can be predicted from forest productivity. Results The global ANPPûAGB relationship differs fundamentally from the strongly positive, linear relationship reported in earlier analyses, which mostly lacked tropical sites. AGB begins to peak at c. 15û20 Mg ha-1 year-1 ANPP, plateaus at ANPP > 20û25 Mg ha-1 year-1, and may actually decline at higher levels of production. Main conclusions High turnover rates in high-productivity forests may limit AGB by promoting the dominance of species with a low wood density. Predicted increases in ANPP will not necessarily favour increases in forest carbon storage, especially if changes in productivity are accompanied by compositional shifts

Author-supplied keywords

  • Biomass
  • Carbon storage
  • Dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs)
  • Global data set
  • Global forests
  • Net primary productivity

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Helen C. Keeling

  • Oliver L. Phillips

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free