Below Ground Biomass

Calculating below ground biomass for carbon credits involves estimating the amount of carbon stored in the roots and soil of a particular ecosystem. Below-ground biomass is a critical component of carbon sequestration as plants absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and store it in their roots and the surrounding soil.

  1. Determine the study area: Define the boundaries of the area you want to assess for below-ground biomass. It could be a forest, grassland, or any other ecosystem.

  2. Select sampling plots: Randomly select representative sampling plots within the study area. The number of plots depends on the size and variability of the ecosystem. The plots should be large enough to capture the variability of below-ground biomass within the ecosystem.

  3. Dig soil pits: In each sampling plot, dig soil pits that are typically 1 meter deep. The size of the pit can vary depending on the ecosystem, but a common size is 1 meter by 1 meter.

  4. Collect root and soil samples: Carefully excavate the soil and collect root and soil samples from different depths within the pit. It's important to collect samples from various depths to capture the distribution of below-ground biomass in the soil profile.

  5. Weigh and process samples: Clean the collected root samples from soil particles and remove any above-ground plant material. Dry the roots and soil samples in an oven to a constant weight and weigh them accurately.

  6. Calculate carbon content: Determine the carbon content of the root and soil samples. This can be done through laboratory analysis, where the samples are combusted and the released carbon dioxide is measured using appropriate equipment. The carbon content is typically expressed as a percentage.

  7. Calculate below-ground biomass: Multiply the dry weight of each root and soil sample by its carbon content percentage to obtain the amount of carbon stored in that sample. Sum up the carbon content across all samples within a sampling plot.

  8. Extrapolation: Multiply the average carbon content of the sampling plot by the total number of similar sampling plots in the study area to estimate the total below-ground biomass carbon storage.

  9. Verification and validation: The calculated below-ground biomass estimates require verification and validation by certified experts or third-party auditors to ensure accuracy and adherence to the PCS methodology.

  10. Carbon credit calculation: Once the below-ground biomass carbon storage is estimated, it can be used to determine the number of carbon credits earned. The exact calculation is shown below in the table. The carbon credits are typically based on the amount of carbon stored and the duration of the project.

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