Attributes of down woody materials in hardwood forests of the Eastern United StatesThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
The Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (FIA) of the USDA Forest Service conducts a national inventory of down woody materials (DWM) on forestland in the United States. Estimates of DWM for inventory plots occurring in eastern U.S. hardwood forests facilitate large-scale assessment of hardwood forest fuel loadings and wildlife habitat. Therefore, the objectives of this study were (1) to quantify fuel loadings by National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) hour-class for common hardwood forest types of the eastern U.S., (2) to quantify coarse woody debris (CWD) size distributions for common hardwood forest types of the eastern U.S., (3) and to compare the means of CWD and fine woody debris (FWD) by classes of stand live-tree basal area and stand age for hardwood forests of the eastern U.S. using currently available data from FIA. Results indicate appreciable amounts of forest fuels in eastern hardwood forests, particularly in pure and mixed species forests with oak components. Furthermore, size-class distributions of coarse woody pieces indicate a dearth of large-sized coarse woody debris in eastern hardwood forests. Overall, a large-scale assessment of down woody attributes in hardwood forests of the eastern U.S. contributes to understanding this resource’s role in the management of fuels and wildlife habitat of the United States.