In a mangrove forest in southern Thailand, the root biomass was estimated for the Sonneratia zone, the Sonneratia-Bruguiera ecotone, the Bruguiera zone and the Rhizophora zone. A 0.2 m (width) × 15.5 m (length) × 1.0 m (depth) trench was dug between two trees of Rhizophora apiculata and the roots in the trench harvested, rinsed, sorted by diameter and weighed. The dry weight of roots collected from the trench was 135.6 kg, equivalent to a total root biomass of 437.5 t ha−1 including 220.5 t ha−1 of fine roots.
The root density distribution of a single tree was assumed to be predictable exponentially. Two variables of the equation were determined by iteration using the data from a trench excavation and tree distribution study. This equation was applied to 1.3 ha and the root biomass distribution was analysed. The root biomass in each of the above four zones was estimated at 171.8, 84.8, 242.6 and 509.5 t ha−1, respectively. The proportion of fine roots (<2 mm) ranged from 46.4% to 66.4%.