Spatiotemporal dynamics of coarse woody debris in an old-growth temperate deciduous forest

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Forest ecosystems are an important component in the global carbon cycle. Coarse woody debris (CWD), which is a substantial portion of the aboveground forest biomass, can be an indicator of historical disturbance events and is a key variable for estimating carbon storage in forests. This study focused on identifying spatial and temporal dynamics in CWD pools within an old-growth temperate deciduous forest. The CWD in the study site was measured three times (1989, 1999, and 2012) following identical methods. Volumes of CWD were relatively stable over the measurement intervals, with the only significant difference being a higher CWD load in the midslope (mesophytic) community in 1989. The spatial arrangement of CWD across the topographically complex landscape was assessed using a geographical information systems (GIS) model that tested for physiographic predictors of CWD volume. Topographic patterns were not discovered, suggesting that CWD deposition was spatially stochastic. The relative temporal and spatial uniformity in CWD matches expectations for old-growth temperate forests; however, oncoming pests and pathogens as well as climate effects have the potential to drive future shifts in CWD loads.


Published version of the author's thesis completed 2014: https://etd.ohiolink.edu/pg_10?0::NO:10:P10_ACCESSION_NUM:dayton1405199554