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Field Note: Snag Longevity in Managed Northern Hardwoods

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Little information on standing snag and coarse woody debris longevity exists for New England forest types. Forest managers thus lack the information on changes over time of the habitat components influenced by the decay process. We examined the fate of 568 snags that occurred on a long-term hardwood growth study on the Bartlett Experimental Forest, NH. Approximately one-third of the oldest dense hardwood sawtimber snags were still standing 20 to 25 years after death and 17% were still visible on the ground. Seventeen percent of the older moderately dense hardwood sawtimber snags were standing 15 to 20 years after death, 50% were still visible on the ground, and 33% had decomposed. Pole-sized snags appear to stand for shorter times than sawtimber and large sawtimber snags. Percentage of decomposed poles increased steadily throughout the time periods. These results can be most useful in predicting future wildlife habitat conditions in managed stands, as well as providing better rates of decomposition information when modeling coarse woody debris.

Keywords: Northern hardwoods; coarse woody debris; snag condition; wildlife habitat

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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