Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

Title: Analyzing the causal factors of carbon stores in a subtropical urban forest

Author: Headlee, William; Hall, Richard; Staudhammer, C.; Brandeis, T.; Other, and;

Date: 2014

Source: Ecological Complexity 20 (2014) 23–32

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Studies of forests and urban forest ecosystems have documented the various biophysical and socioeconomic correlates of carbon storage. Tree cover in particular is often used as a determinant of carbon storage for local and national level urban forest assessments. However, the relationships among variables describing the biophysical and socioeconomic environment and carbon are not simple statistical ones. Instead, there are complex interactions that can have either a unidirectional causal effects, or produce indirect effects through interactions with other ecosystem structure and landscape characteristics. Thus, understanding the direct and indirect effects of structure, composition, and landscape characteristics is key to quantifying ecosystem services. This study used field data from plots across an urban watershed, site-specific biomass equations, and structural equation modeling of urban forest structure and landscape variables to quantify the causal influences of tree cover, land use, stand density, species composition and diversity on carbon stores. Our path analysis shows that the effect of tree cover on carbon stores is not only direct but also indirect and influential through basal area and composition. Findings suggest that species composition, species diversity and land use have much more complex relationships than previously reported in the urban forest literature. The use of path analysis in these types of studies also presents a novel method to better analyze and quantify these direct and indirect effects on urban forest carbon stores. Findings have implications for urban forest ecosystem assessments that use tree cover as the sole metric for inferring ecosystem functions and services.

Keywords: ecosystem, urban watershed, tree cover, land use, stand density, species composition, diversity, carbon stores

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • This publication may be available in hard copy. Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
  • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.



Timilsina, Nilesh; Escobedo, Francisco J.; Staudhammer, Christina L.; Brandeis, Thomas 2014. Analyzing the causal factors of carbon stores in a subtropical urban forest. Ecological Complexity 20 (2014) pp. 23–32.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.