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Fact sheet. Project: Development of biomass estimation models for carbon monitoring in selected vegetation types of Tanzania

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R.E. Malimbwi
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The carbon benefits of any forest carbon project are estimated on the basis of changes of carbon stocks in different biomass pools and such changes may be determined through continuous forest inventories, possibly combined with growth estimates, and the use of models for biomass estimation, i.e. allometric biomass equations. At national and regional levels this requires, among others,  good quality data from a detailed national forest inventory. At local levels simpler inventories may be sufficient. However, acquiring proper inventory data in general requires: the use of appropriate allometric biomass equations to estimate biomass/carbon for individual trees and plots/stands; objective inventory designs to yield reliable and sufficiently accurate estimates; and adequate resources for measuring and monitoring.
Tanzania has carried out its first National Forest Monitoring and Assessment (NAFORMA) which will provide data for the REDD process. The NAFORMA has specifically requested the Climate Change Impact, Adaptation and Mitigation (CCIAM) programme to include the development of biomass equations in its activities. In addition, Tanzania biomass equations are needed for a number of Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) supported REDD pilot projects that are being initiated and for general forest management planning.
Until recently, however, in Tanzania there were no appropriate allometric biomass equations developed for this purpose. Those that exist are deficient because they do not consider below ground biomass; are localized to limited sites; exclude small and/or bigger trees on equation development process; are developed from a limited number of samples trees; rarely take into account available information on wood specific gravity or are based on merchantable volume for the case of plantation forests.
The objective of the project is to develop equations and methods for assessing and monitoring carbon stocks in Tanzania required for implementing REDD at local and national levels. The project aims to cover all major forest vegetation types: miombo woodland, montane forests, lowland forests, acacia commiphora woodland, mangroves, thickets and plantation forests. - Output from the Norwegian funded Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation (CCIAM) Programme in Tanzania.