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    Author(s): Sally Duncan
    Date: 2002
    Source: Science Findings. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. March (42): 1-5
    Publication Series: Science Findings
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (301.0 KB)


    Dead wood is a crucial component of healthy, biologically diverse forests. Yet basic information about the distribution and characteristics of snags and down trees in forest of the Pacific Northwest is lacking. Such information is needed to assess wildlife habitat, carbon stores, fuel conditions, and site productivity. Current guidelines for dead wood management are based on limited or dated scientific data.

    A recent study by the Pacific Northwest Research Station delved into existing resource inventories to create new information estimating density, volume, and percentage cover for dead wood across about 49 million acres of upland forests in Oregon and Washington. To estimate the natural range of variability in snags and down wood in upland forest habitats, researchers also analyzed plots containing no evidence of harvest activity.

    The findings are being used in dead wood management models and to provide information about wildlife habitat and ecosystem health. Another study assesses the amount of biomass and carbon stored in dead wood, providing information on carbon dynamics for global climate change and criteria and indicators specified in the Montreal Process. The Montreal Process is an initiative started in 1993 to develop a way to measure the outcomes of forest management.

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    Duncan, Sally. 2002. Dead wood all around us: think regionally to manage locally. Science Findings. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. March (42): 1-5

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