Fuel dynamics across southern Appalachian landscapesThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
This study was conducted in Rabun County, GA, on the Warwoman Wildlife Management Area to measure the annual accumulations and decomposition of leaf litter, fine woody fuel, and total fuel loadings on undisturbed sites across different topographical positions in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. There were five “treatments” used in this study, representing five topographic positions: ridge tops, middle, and lower slopes on northeast (325 to 125 degrees) and southwest (145 to 305 degrees) aspects. Ten plots (replicates) were established at each topographic position for a total of 50 plots. Results suggested that there were few differences in accumulation and decomposition of leaf litter, 1-, 10-, and 100-hour fuels among different topographical positions. The only exception was coarse woody debris, which had significantly more on northeast facing slopes (26.6 tons/ha) compared to all other slope positions (10.8 tons/ha). Ericaceous shrubs were present on 74 percent of plots and could have influenced the results.