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International Journal of Forestry Research
Volume 2010, Article ID 413703, 9 pages
Research Article

Carbon Flux of Down Woody Materials in Forests of the North Central United States

USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA

Received 9 June 2009; Revised 13 October 2009; Accepted 5 November 2009

Academic Editor: Hamish Kimmins

Copyright © 2010 C. W. Woodall. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Across large scales, the carbon (C) flux of down woody material (DWM) detrital pools has largely been simulated based on forest stand attributes (e.g., stand age and forest type). The annual change in forest DWM C stocks and other attributes (e.g., size and decay class changes) was assessed using a forest inventory in the north central United States to provide an empirical assessment of strategic-scale DWM C flux. Using DWM inventory data from the USDA Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis program, DWM C stocks were found to be relatively static across the study region with an annual flux rate not statistically different from zero. Mean C flux rates across the study area were 0.25, 0.12, 0.01, and 0.04 (Mg/ha/yr) for standing live trees, standing dead trees, coarse woody debris, and fine woody debris, respectively. Flux rates varied in their both magnitude and status (emission/sequestration) by forest types, latitude, and DWM component size. Given the complex dynamics of DWM C flux, early implementation of inventory remeasurement, and relatively low sample size, numerous future research directions are suggested.