Distribution of dead wood volume and mass in mediterranean Fagus sylvatica L. forests in Northern Iberian Peninsula. Implications for field sampling inventory

Celia Herrero, Vicente José Monleon, Natividad Gómez, Felipe Bravo


Aim of study: The aim of this study was to 1) estimate the amount of dead wood in managed beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) stands in northern Iberian Peninsula and 2) evaluate the most appropriate volume equation and the optimal transect length for sampling downed wood.

Area of study: The study area is the Aralar Forest in Navarra (Northern Iberian Peninsula).

Material and methods: The amount of dead wood by component (downed logs, snags, stumps and fine woody debris) was inventoried in 51 plots across a chronosequence of stand ages (0-120 years old).

Main results: The average volume and biomass of dead wood was 24.43 m3 ha-1 and 7.65 Mg ha-1, respectively. This amount changed with stand development stage [17.14 m3 ha-1 in seedling stage; 34.09 m3 ha-1 inpole stage; 22.54 m3 ha-1 in mature stage and 24.27 m3 ha-1 in regular stand in regeneration stage], although the differences were not statistically significant for coarse woody debris. However, forest management influenced the amount of dead wood, because the proportion of mass in the different components and the decay stage depended on time since last thinning. The formula based on intersection diameter resulted on the smallest coefficient of variation out of seven log-volume formulae. Thus, the intersection diameter is the preferred method because it gives unbiased estimates, has the greatest precision and is the easiest to implement in the field.

Research highlights: The amount of dead wood, and in particular snags, was significantly lower than that in reserved forests. Results of this study showed that sampling effort should be directed towards increasing the number of transects, instead of increasing transect length or collecting additional piece diameters that do not increase the accuracy or precision of DWM volume estimation.

Keywords: snags; downed logs; stumps; fine woody debris; beech; line intersect sampling.


snags; downed logs; stumps; fine woody debris; beech; line intersect sampling

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2016253-09009

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