Publication Details

Can live tree size-density relationships provide a mechanism for predicting down and dead tree resources?

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Year Published

2009

Publication

In: McWilliams, Will; Moisen, Gretchen; Czaplewski, Ray, comps. Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Symposium 2008; October 21-23, 2008; Park City, UT. Proc. RMRS-P-56CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 8 p.

Abstract

Live tree size-density relationships in forests have long provided a framework for understanding stand dynamics. There has been little examination of the relationship between the size-density attributes of live and standing/down dead trees (e.g., number and mean tree size per unit area, such information could help in large-scale efforts to estimate dead wood resources. The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between standing live, standing dead, and downed dead trees in the context of size-density attributes using a national inventory of forests. Our results indicated that from the lowest to the highest live tree relative stand density, the mean biomass/ha of live trees increased by more than 2,000 percent while the mean biomass/ha of standing dead and downed dead trees increased 295 and 75 percent, respectively. Correlations between downed dead wood and stand/site attributes reached their highest level (r > 0.60) when a stand's relative density exceeded 80 percent. We propose a model for highly stocked stands whereby downed and dead wood biomass may be predicted based on live/dead tree size-density attributes, stand age, and climatic factors. We also provide an alternative model for moderate/low stocked stands whereby potential maximum live biomass may serve as a limit to dead wood resources with stochastic events (e.g., wind/mortality disturbances) as high-impact variables. Overall, the size-density attributes of live/dead trees may help guide the estimation of downed and dead wood attributes in forests.

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Citation

Woodall, Christopher W.; Westfall, James A. 2009. Can live tree size-density relationships provide a mechanism for predicting down and dead tree resources? In: McWilliams, Will; Moisen, Gretchen; Czaplewski, Ray, comps. Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Symposium 2008; October 21-23, 2008; Park City, UT. Proc. RMRS-P-56CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 8 p.

Last updated on: July 20, 2009