Indicator: LD-39 Change in biomass stock

Data

Australia-wide annual biomass change
Year Area Reported C Stock Change in Biomass
1990 26,620,219 36,643,929
1991 27,160,165 30,978,206
1992 27,660,214 29,234,740
1993 28,134,809 28,115,046
1994 28,594,277 27,175,962
1995 28,999,534 23,926,484
1996 29,401,285 24,693,800
1997 29,774,377 25,674,246
1998 30,148,603 25,772,642
1999 30,529,425
24,136,950
2000 30,988,634 24,033,414
2001 31,448,020 25,858,923
2002 31,888,435 26,711,204
2003 32,269,017 22,291,346
2004 32,665,985 26,275,041

What the data mean

Total biomass varies considerably from year to year but, generally, a steady trend of declining biomass can be observed - from a loss of just over 36.5 million tonnes across just over 26 million hectares in 1990 to just over 26 million tonnes across just over 32.5 hectares in 2004. (Estimates of total biomass stocks during each period are not available.)

The average rate of loss of biomass per hectare has decreased from about 1.4 tonnes per hectare in 1990 to 0.8 tonnes per hectare in 2004. This reflects the fact that much of the area that was forest land in 1990 has been converted to cropland or grassland, so there is considerably less biomass in the area to be lost.

Issues for which this is an indicator and why

Land - Land condition - Soil stability and quality 

Biomass is a measure of quantity of the total mass of matter that is currently engaged in being alive. For soil to provide the nutrients required by the plants and other biota that grow in it, those nutrients need to be replenished by the ongoing breakdown of organic matter. This presumes the ongoing presence of biomass to provide that ongoing supply of organic matter.

Other indicators for this issue:

Land - Direct pressure of human activities on the land - Soil loss and loss of soil quality 

Biomass is a measure of quantity of the total mass of matter that is currently engaged in being alive. A decrease in total biomass represents a decrease in the quantity of matter available for the continuation of life. The conversion of biomass into atmospheric carbon and other greenhouse gases represents not only an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, with implications for climate change, but also a reduction in number of individual life forms present, and a reduction in organic material available for the maintenance of life forms, as individuals, species and ecosystems.

Other indicators for this issue:

Atmosphere - Climate variability and change - Greenhouse 

Biomass is a measure of quantity of the total mass of matter that is currently engaged in being alive. The conversion of biomass into atmospheric carbon and other greenhouse gases represents not only a reduction in organic material available for the maintenance of life forms but also an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, with implications for climate change.

Other indicators for this issue:

Further Information