Development of a Downed Woody Debris Forecasting Tool Using Strategic-Scale Multiresource Forest Inventories

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Journal of Forestry, ISSN: 0022-1201, Vol: 115, Issue: 4, Page: 276-282

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Matthew B. Russell; Christopher W. Woodall
Oxford University Press (OUP); Society of American Foresters
Agricultural and Biological Sciences
article description
The increasing interest in forest biomass for energy or carbon cycle purposes has raised the need for forest resource managers to refine their understanding of downed woody debris (DWD) dynamics. We developed a DWD forecasting tool using field measurements (mean size and stage of stage of decay) for three common forest types across the eastern United States using field observations of DWD from the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis program. Residence times for DWD ranged from as short as 20.3 ± 9.7 years (mean ± SD) for loblolly pine biomass in the southeastern United States to as long as 41.7 ± 20.9 years for aspen biomass in the Lake States. Although we suggest numerous improvements through refined DWD measurements and models, our proposed tool can be considered a rapid assessment technique to assist natural resource managers in forecasting DWD populations. Beginning with using log size and decay stage to understand deadwood dynamics, future researchers should seek to refine DWD metrics through implementing enhanced forest inventory information and exploring the impacts of forest disturbances on inputs to the DWD pool.