Regarding the amount of biomass in a tree, what would be the approximate total mass of leaves on a large deciduous tree (e.g. maple, oak) while green in spring? Or, how many leaves could be on such a tree. This would allow me to multiply by the mass per leaf, which I can measure.

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    $\begingroup$ Googling "biomass tree leaves" gives a lot of study results. Maybe you can derive an average from them. You would have to filter for tree types and time of year, given your question. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Doggen
    Jun 15 '15 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ Since trees are as different as finger prints one would assume any close accuracy within all trees of similar height and width would be impossible. Density of leaf bearing branches and their lengths will certainly vary with direct sunlight exposure, water availability, oxygen saturation, proximity of adjacent trees, root crowding, etc. A useable number close to accuracy is unlikely I believe. $\endgroup$
    – N9ZN
    Jun 26 '15 at 1:46
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    $\begingroup$ Search for allometric equations, either FIA or BAAAD. These allow you to compute leaf biomass from trunk diameter. $\endgroup$ Jul 3 '15 at 0:57

David LeBauer is correct in saying that there are 'allometric equations' to estimate the leaf biomass, but they only refer to small experimental plots in such places as Hawaii, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia. The number of species involved is a few dozen at most. As 'N9ZN' points out, trying to develop generalizations would be a titanic task, and essentially impossible without a vast amount of experimental work. There are about 50,000 tree species in the tropics alone, each with its own calibration curve, not to mention ecologic, microclimatic and nutrient constraints upon leaf development.

I would suggest that, instead of trying to develop a deterministic result, since leaf biomass is approximately related to potential evapotranspiration and water availability/constraints, it would be easier to estimate average water usage by stem dendrometry, crunch the numbers for ET0 based upon climatic data, and then develop a biomass conversion efficiency. As far as I know, this hasn't yet been done, at least on anything other than a very small scale - but theoretically it should be doable.

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    $\begingroup$ This answer would benefit from some references or at least links. $\endgroup$
    – kwinkunks
    Nov 30 '15 at 12:53

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