Title page for ETD etd-06122008-092433

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Cochran, John Wesley
URN etd-06122008-092433
Title Coarse Woody Debris Characteristics of Managed and Unmanaged Bottomland Hardwood Forests
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Renewable Natural Resources
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Sammy L. King Committee Chair
Andy Nyman Committee Member
Richard Keim Committee Member
  • high variability
  • coastal forests
  • old-growth
  • low woody debris volumes
Date of Defense 2008-05-05
Availability unrestricted
Increasingly, attention is being paid to the role coarse woody debris (CWD) plays in forest ecosystems. CWD has been shown to provide valuable wildlife habitat, support food webs and contribute to nutrient storage and cycling, and mediate hydrological and geomorphic process. Timber management may be altering CWD dynamics by replacing aging stands with younger, more vigorous ones. The specific objectives of this study were 1) to quantify differences in coarse woody debris characteristics among bottomland hardwood forest stands with different management histories, and 2) to determine how differences in tree species composition and forest structure in bottomland hardwood forests influence coarse woody debris characteristics. Transects were established in ten forest stands with different management histories. Line intercept sampling was conducted to evaluate CWD characteristics, and point-centered-quarter sampling was used to compare characteristics in live vegetation. Large standard deviations were associated with most parameters measured, but results suggested that stands that have not been recently managed support more characteristics associated with structurally mature forest than stands that have been recently harvested. In particular, the Bayou Cocodrie NWR old growth natural area expressed characteristics such as relatively large volumes of CWD, a relatively high frequency of large diameter logs, snags, and trees, and a more stratified canopy and established mid-story. More research is needed to better understand the inherent variability in CWD and live vegetation characteristics among bottomland hardwood forests before explicit correlations between forest management and CWD dynamics can be inferred.
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