Bole Decomposition Rates of
Seventeen Tree Species in Western U.S.A.
report prepared for the USDA USFS, Washington Office
The management of large dead and down trees has become a recent concern in Western U.S. Forests.
We now know that dead wood is associated with many ecological benefits (plant and animal habitat,
nutrient and water storage, soil formation) and that these benefits all vary with the species of log, the environment
and the volume of dead wood on a site. The key to understanding and then managing dead wood dynamically is an
understanding of the rate this material decomposes.
Summary - In this report we present data on the decomposition rates of
seventeen tree species in eight locations in Western U.S.A.
Study Areas -
The majority of sites were in Oregon,
but sites in Colorado and California were also examined. A range of climates are also represented, with site mean annual temperatures ranging from 0.5 to 10 C,
and total annual precipitation ranging from 737 to 2489 mm per year.
Map of site locations
Study Methods -
The general approach at each of the sites differed. The three
methods used, chronosequences, time series, and decomposition vectors are
A comparison of decomposition rates.
Further thoughts on determining decomposition rates.
Climate, types of measurements, decay resistance, and decomposition rates.
- Location of sites, climatic variation, species comparison.
- More information to consider.
measurement of Woody Detritus
-A report by Mark E. Harmon
and Jay M. Sexton
-Long-term Intersite Decomposition
-Canadian Long-term Intersite Decomposition
HJ Andrews home -HJ
Andrews Experimental Forest Long-term ecological research
wish to thank the following agencies for financial support in the
collection of these data and the preparation of this report:
National Science Foundation (DEB9632921 and DEB0218088),
Pacific Northwest Experiment Station,
Joint Fire Sciences Program and
Forest Management Service Center of WO
Forest Management Staff.
also wish to thank the Warm Springs Tribe for allowing us to sample within