Standing crop and aboveground biomass partitioning of a dwarf mangrove forest in Taylor River Slough, Florida

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The structure and standing crop biomass of a dwarf mangrove forest, located in the salinity transition zone ofTaylor River Slough in the Everglades National Park, were studied. Although the four mangrove species reported for Florida occurred at the study site, dwarf Rhizophora mangle trees dominated the forest. The structural characteristics of the mangrove forest were relatively simple: tree height varied from 0.9 to 1.2 meters, and tree density ranged from 7062 to 23 778 stems ha-1. An allometric relationship was developed to estimate leaf, branch, prop root, and total aboveground biomass of dwarf Rhizophora mangle trees. Total aboveground biomass and their components were best estimated as a power function of the crown area times number of prop roots as an independent variable (Y = B × X-0.5083). The allometric equation for each tree component was highly significant (p<0.0001), with all r2 values greater than 0.90. The allometric relationship was used to estimate total aboveground biomass that ranged from 7.9 to 23.2 ton ha-1. Rhizophora mangle contributed 85% of total standing crop biomass. Conocarpus erectus, Laguncularia racemosa, and Avicennia germinans contributed the remaining biomass. Average aboveground biomass allocation was 69% for prop roots, 25% for stem and branches, and 6% for leaves. This aboveground biomass partitioning pattern, which gives a major role to prop roots that have the potential to produce an extensive root system, may be an important biological strategy in response to low phosphorus availability and relatively reduced soils that characterize mangrove forests in South Florida.

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