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Estimates of Down Woody Materials on Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia

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An inventory of down woody materials (DWM) was conducted on Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, to develop a baseline of DWM abundance and distribution to assist in wildland fire management. Estimates of DWM are necessary to develop accurate assessments of wildfire hazard, model wildland fire behavior, and establish thresholds for retaining DWM, specifically CWD (coarse woody debris), as a structural component of forest ecosystems. DWM were sampled by forest type and structure class using US Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) field procedures. DWM averaged 12–16 tn/ac depending on forest cover type and structure class. Coarse woody debris (CWD) averaged 2.7–13.0 tn/ac depending on forest cover type and structure class. CWD comprised more than 70% of DWM across all forest cover types and structure classes. Fine woody debris (FWD) averaged 0.05–3.2 tn/ac depending on fuel hour class, forest cover type, and structure class. DWM was consistently higher in mature (sawtimber) forests than in young (poletimber) forests across all forest cover types, attributed to an increased CWD component of DWM. The variability associated with DWM suggests that obtaining robust estimates of CWD biomass will require a higher sampling intensity than FWD because of its nonuniform distribution in forest systems. FIA field procedures for tallying and quantifying DWM were practical, efficient, and, subsequently, included as permanent metrics in Fort A.P. Hill's Continuous Forest Inventory program.
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Keywords: coarse woody debris; fine woody debris; forest inventory and analysis; fuel loading

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-05-01

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