The present study investigated the relationship between time since death and the morphological characteristics of fallen dead trees in a Nothofagus betuloides forest stand located on the island of Navarino (Chile). In this unmanaged forest, there were 399m3ha-1 of dead wood, which represented about half of the living tree volume. At the investigation site, 18 living trees were selected and increment cores were collected from them to build master ring-width chronologies. Cross sections were also collected from 48 fallen dead trees. The samples collected were then assigned to observable decay classes and their death date was determined dendrochronologically. Cross-dating techniques were used and it was found that the fallen dead trees cross-dated significantly with standard chronologies. A year of death was successfully determined for 75% of the sampled fallen dead trees. However, this study demonstrated that, in the standard classification, the transition rate from one class of decay to another was highly variable. Furthermore, the inconsistencies found in the decay rates of the fallen dead trees demonstrated that the existing decay classification schemes were unsuitable for this type of forest stand and that the relationship between qualitatively assessed decay classes and the time since death of trees in this extreme environment was rather weak. In addition, the analysis of the time since death, in this old growth forest, was indicative of the persistence of dead wood on the forest floor in austral cold ecosystems and of its contribution to long-term carbon storage.

Dendrochronological assessment of the time since death of dead wood in an old growth Magellan’s beech forest, Navarino Island (Chile)

LOMBARDI, Fabio
;
2011

Abstract

The present study investigated the relationship between time since death and the morphological characteristics of fallen dead trees in a Nothofagus betuloides forest stand located on the island of Navarino (Chile). In this unmanaged forest, there were 399m3ha-1 of dead wood, which represented about half of the living tree volume. At the investigation site, 18 living trees were selected and increment cores were collected from them to build master ring-width chronologies. Cross sections were also collected from 48 fallen dead trees. The samples collected were then assigned to observable decay classes and their death date was determined dendrochronologically. Cross-dating techniques were used and it was found that the fallen dead trees cross-dated significantly with standard chronologies. A year of death was successfully determined for 75% of the sampled fallen dead trees. However, this study demonstrated that, in the standard classification, the transition rate from one class of decay to another was highly variable. Furthermore, the inconsistencies found in the decay rates of the fallen dead trees demonstrated that the existing decay classification schemes were unsuitable for this type of forest stand and that the relationship between qualitatively assessed decay classes and the time since death of trees in this extreme environment was rather weak. In addition, the analysis of the time since death, in this old growth forest, was indicative of the persistence of dead wood on the forest floor in austral cold ecosystems and of its contribution to long-term carbon storage.
Austral cold ecosystem; Cross-dating technique; Dead wood decay progression; Dendrochronology; Nothofagus betuloides
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/6760
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