A rapid system of decay classification for hardwood logs of the eastern deciduous forest floor

  • Pyle C
  • Brown M
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A rapid system of decay classification for hardwood logs of the eastern deciduous forest floor. J. Torrey Bot. Soc. 125:237-245. 1998.-A five-class log decay classification system involving characteristics of bark, twigs, wood surface, log soundness (assessed by kicking the log), and log shape was developed for hardwood forests and applied to logs located on transects in second-growth Quercus- hardwood and mixed-hardwood forest stands in the University of Connecticut forest. The classification system may be applied to specific log sectors, or, to the entire log by making a quick mental tally of the decay class in successive log sectors along the entire length to reach an overall decay class for the log. Log decay involves a progressive change in decay characteristics. In developing the classification table, we recognized that certain decay characteristics may or may not be present in a sector of a given decay class along a log; and, further, that in certain situations, subcategories of the five major decay classes are warranted. Overall decay class of each log was determined quickly in the field and then compared to calculated decay class based on a volume-weighted summation of the decay class of each sector of the log (minimum sector size was 20 cm log length). The quick field-based overall decay class generally agreed with the carefully calculated decay class. The inclusion of forks off the main bole had little effect on the estimate of the overall amount of log material in our study; however, bole forks represented a large proportion of material in certain logs. The methods described herein allow rapid decay class categorization because they involve no dissection of logs (merely probing of the log surface texture and log solidity). Besides being useful for studies requiring classification of log decay, these methods are well- suited to incorporation into standard systems of extensive forest inventory when a time-efficient examination of potential habitat diversity is desired

Author-supplied keywords

  • University of Connecticut forest
  • coarse woody debris
  • decay class
  • forest management
  • hardwood forest
  • methods (of log decay classification)

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  • Charlotte Pyle

  • Michelle M Brown

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