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    Downed woody material (DWM) is a key component in forest ecosystems with age, structure, and disturbance described as primary factors that influence DWM dynamics. In particular, much emphasis is placed on large coarse woody debris (CWD). Fine woody debris (FWD) (less than 7.62 cm diameter), duff, and litter also contribute to carbon stocks, provide habitat, add to nutrient cycling, and are often the most available fuels for fire, yet are regularly overlooked in studies describing the forest floor. Throughout the middle montane zone within the Intermountain West region USA, interior Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca Mirb. Franco) is a predominant forest type, yet little is known about the forest floor complex in these forests. We used a chronosequence approach to compare DWM patterns over the course of stand development among stands with different disturbance histories. Using classification and regression trees, we also evaluated an assemblage of environmental, structural, and disturbance variables to determine factors of most importance for estimating loading for DWM, duff, and litter. We found CWD resembled a U-shaped pattern of buildup while FWD components remained stable over the course of stand development regardless of disturbance history. Our results indicate that large DWM components are most closely associated with the amount of standing dead material in a stand, primarily the density and basal area of snags. Fine woody material was more aligned with live stand components, while duff and litter were more influenced by disturbance.

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    Giunta, Andrew D.; Shaw, John D. 2018. Environmental, structural, and disturbance influences over forest floor components in interior Douglas-fir forests of the Intermountain West, USA. Forests. 9: 503.


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    coarse woody debris, fine woody debris, interior Douglas-fir, forest inventory analysis, intermountain west, fire, insects

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