Development of a downed woody debris forecasting tool using strategic-scale multiresource forest inventories

Matthew B. Russell, Christopher W. Woodall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The increasing interest in forest biomass for energy or carbon cycle purposes has raised the need for forest resource managers to refine their understanding of downed woody debris (DWD) dynamics. We developed a DWD forecasting tool using field measurements (mean size and stage of stage of decay) for three common forest types across the eastern United States using field observations of DWD from the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis program. Residence times for DWD ranged from as short as 20.3 ± 9.7 years (mean ± SD) for loblolly pine biomass in the southeastern United States to as long as 41.7 ± 20.9 years for aspen biomass in the Lake States. Although we suggest numerous improvements through refined DWD measurements and models, our proposed tool can be considered a rapid assessment technique to assist natural resource managers in forecasting DWD populations. Beginning with using log size and decay stage to understand deadwood dynamics, future researchers should seek to refine DWD metrics through implementing enhanced forest inventory information and exploring the impacts of forest disturbances on inputs to the DWD pool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-282
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Forestry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station. We thank Don Bragg, Daniel Tinker, and two external reviewers for their comments that improved this work. This work was presented in part at the Inventory, Monitoring, and Assessment workshop coordinated by John Shaw at the 2014 Society of American Foresters Convention.


  • Coarse woody debris
  • Decomposition
  • Forest Inventory and Analysis
  • Forest management
  • Wildlife management

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