Harmon, Mark E.; Fasth, Becky G.; Yatskov, Misha; Kastendick, Douglas; Rock, Joachim; Woodall, Christopher W. 2020. Release of coarse woody detritus-related carbon: a synthesis across forest biomes. Carbon Balance and Management. 15(1): 1-21. doi: 10.1186/s13021-019-0136-6
Recent increases in forest tree mortality should increase the abundance coarse woody detritus (CWD) and ultimately lead to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, the time course of carbon release from CWD is not well understood. We compiled CWD decomposition rate-constants (i.e., k) to examine how tree species, piece diameter, position (i.e., standing versus downed), canopy openness, and macroclimate influenced k. To illustrate their implications we modeled the effect of species and position on estimates of decomposition-related carbon flux. We examined a subset of currently used models to determine if their structure accounted for these factors.