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An assessment of dead wood patterns and their relationships with biophysical characteristics in two landscapes with different disturbance histories in coastal Oregon, USA

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Understanding the relative importance of landscape history, topography, vegetation, and climate to dead wood patterns is important for assessing pattern–process relationships related to dead wood and associated biodiversity. We sampled dead wood at four topographic positions in two landscapes (1400–2100 km2) that experienced different wildfire and salvage histories in coastal Oregon. Study objectives were to (i) determine whether and how the landscapes differed in dead wood amounts and characteristics and (ii) evaluate relationships between dead wood characteristics and potentially related biophysical variables associated with historical and current vegetation, topography, climate, soils, and ecoregion. Despite differences in history, the two landscapes differed little in total dead wood volume; however, they differed in dead wood volume by structural type, decay class, and source (legacy/nonlegacy). Dead wood varied by topographic position, and topography was of greatest importance compared with other factors. In this mountainous region, upper topographic positions may be source areas for dead wood and riparian areas and streams sinks for dead wood. Climate explained more variance in dead wood in the landscape that burned earlier and was not salvaged. Landscape-scale patterns of dead wood are evident in landscapes with different disturbance histories and despite finer-scale variation in topography, vegetation, and other biophysical attributes.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 3, 2007

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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