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Rainforest – Stocks


The conceptual models were compiled by researchers in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders from Natural Resource Management groups, universities and government agencies and based on available scientific information[1].

Click on elements of the model or select from the tabs below

Nitrogen (N) stocks in rainforests are large with values often above 1,000 kg N per ha in vegetation and values > 11,000 kg N per ha (0 - 8 m depth) in soils[2].


Nitrogen concentrations in rainforest soils ranges from 0.02 to 3% (12,000 (11,000-13,000) kg/ha)* depending on the vegetation and age of the rainforest[2]. Nitrogen stocks in tropical forests are usually higher than those of temperate forests[4].


Vegetation N stocks are high, with values at approximately 2,100 (500-3700) kg/ha*[1][3].


Organisms store nitrogen in their tissue and rainforests are often hotspots of biodiversity.

*Nitrogen quantities are displayed as an average followed by a minimum and maximum (range), e.g. “average (min. of range - max. of range) units”.


  1. ^ Gillman, GP, Sinclair, DF, Knowlton, R & Keys, MG (1985), 'The effect of some soil chemical properties of the selective logging of a north Queensland rainforest', Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 12, no. 3-4, pp. 195-214.
  2. ^ a b Hedin, LO, Brookshire, ENJ, Menge, DNL & Barron, AR (2009), 'The nitrogen paradox in tropical forest ecosystems', Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics. [online], vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 613-635. Available at:
  3. ^ Preece, ND, Crowley, GM, Lawes, MJ & van Oosterzee, P (2012), 'Comparing above-ground biomass among forest types in the Wet Tropics: Small stems and plantation types matter in carbon accounting', Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 264, pp. 228-237, Elsevier B.V.
  4. ^ Vitousek, PM (1984), 'Litterfall, nutrient cycling, and nutrient limitation in tropical forests', Ecology, vol. 65, no. 1, pp. 285-298.

Last updated: 2 August 2021

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (2021) Rainforest – Stocks, WetlandInfo website, accessed 1 February 2024. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment, Science and Innovation