Sampling coarse woody debris for multiple attributes in extensive resource inventories

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Ecological Indicators, ISSN: 1470-160X, Vol: 1, Issue: 3, Page: 139-153

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Karen L. Waddell
Elsevier BV; Elsevier; Hosted by Utah State University Libraries
Decision Sciences; Agricultural and Biological Sciences; Environmental Science; Forest Biology; Forest Management; Forest Sciences
article description
Information on the amount, distribution, and characteristics of coarse woody debris (CWD) in forest ecosystems is in high demand by wildlife biologists, fire specialists, and ecologists. In its important role in wildlife habitat, fuel loading, forest productivity, and carbon sequestration, CWD is an indicator of forest health. Because of this, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program recognized the need to collect data on CWD in their extensive resource inventories. This paper describes a sampling method, measurement protocols, and estimation procedures to collect and compile data on CWD attributes within FIA’s forest inventory. The line-intersect method was used to sample CWD inside the boundaries of the standard inventory field plot. Previously published equations were customized to allow for easy calculation of per-unit-area values, such as biomass and carbon per hectare, log density per hectare, or volume per hectare, for each plot. These estimates are associated with all other information recorded or calculated for an inventory plot. This allows for indepth analysis of CWD data in relation to stand level characteristics. The data on CWD can be used to address current, relevant issues such as criteria no. 5 outlined in the 1994 Montreal process and the 1995 Santiago declaration. This criteria assesses the contribution of forests to the global carbon cycle by measuring such indicators as CWD, live plant biomass, and soil carbon.