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Regional Distribution and Dynamics of Coarse Woody Debris in Midwestern Old-Growth Forests

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Abstract:

Old-growth forests have been noted for containing significant quantities of deadwood. However, there has been no coordinated effort to quantify the deadwood component of old-growth remnants across large regions of temperate deciduous forest. We present results of a regional inventory that quantifies and examines regional and temporal trends for deadwood in upland old-growth forest remnants within Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa. From 1992 to 1994, down wood ≥ 10 cm in diameter and standing trees ≥ 10 cm dbh were inventoried on 328 one-tenth ha plots at 12 sites. The mean ratio among the sites by diameter class of the number of standing dead to standing live trees (dead/live ratio) ranged from 0.08 to 0.11 and was consistent for trees ≤ 65 cm in diameter. The dead/live tree ratio was generally greater for old-growth than for mature second-growth forests (70 to 90 yr old). Mean volume of standing dead trees across all old-growth sites was 21.4 m³/ha and down wood was 60.4 m³/ha. However, both standing and down wood volume (total deadwood) increased along a regional gradient of increasing productivity from southwest Missouri to northeast Indiana and also increased with increasing age of dominant and codominant trees. Old-growth forests on high productivity sites averaged more pieces/ha of down wood in all diameter classes and higher volume/ha of down wood in nearly all diameter classes than did old-growth forests on low productivity sites. A chronosequence of forests from 10 yr to more than 200 yr since stand establishment indicated a sharply declining down wood volume from age 10 to 70 yr followed by increasing volume between 80 and 200 yr. For. Sci. 45(2):302-313.

Keywords: Productivity gradient; deadwood volume; snags; spatial and temporal distribution

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, 1159 Forestry Building, West Lafayette, IN 47907--Phone: (765) 494-3602

Publication date: 1999-05-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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