Availability of coarse woody debris in a boreal old-growth Picea abies forest

  • Jonsson B
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This study reports temporal (based on cross-dated dead trees) and spatial patterns of availability of coarse woody debris (CWD) from Picea abies in a Swedish boreal landscape with discrete old-growth forest patches in a wetland matrix. Data were collected from 29 patches ranging in size from 0.3 to 28 ha. A total of 897 dead trees with a minimum diameter of > 15 cm occurred on the 7.2 ha area analysed. The year of death was established for 50 % of these trees. CWD volume ranged from 17 to 65 m3/ha for downed logs and from 0.5 to 13 m3/ha for standing snags. CWD of all decay stages and diameter classes occurred abundantly and the probability of finding logs of all decay stages and sizes was very high at the scale of single hectares. Tree mortality differed among 5 yr periods. However, during the last 50 yr no 5 yr period produced less than 3 logs/ha. Decay rates were highly variable among different logs. Logs with soft wood and some wood pieces lost (decay stage 5) died ca. 34 years ago. This suggests a fairly rapid decay in this northern forest. The data indicate a high and continuous availability of CWD of all types. It is likely, therefore, that selection pressures for efficient dispersal among CWD dependent species may not be very high. Consequently, species with narrow habitat demands and/or low dispersal ability may have evolved and this may contribute to the decrease of certain species in the managed landscape.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Decay rate
  • Forest management
  • Log
  • Picea abies
  • Snag
  • Stand dynamics
  • Sweden
  • Tree mortality
  • coarse woody debris
  • habitat availability
  • spatiotemporal analysis

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  • Bengt Gunnar Jonsson

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