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Long-Term Response of a Forest Watershed EcosystemClearcutting in the Southern Appalachians$
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Wayne T. Swank and Jackson R. Webster

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780195370157

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195370157.001.0001

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Wood Decomposition Following Clearcutting at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory

Wood Decomposition Following Clearcutting at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory

Chapter:
(p.118) 7 Wood Decomposition Following Clearcutting at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory
Source:
Long-Term Response of a Forest Watershed Ecosystem
Author(s):

Kim G. Mattson

Wayne T. Swank

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195370157.003.0007

Most of the forest on Watershed (WS) 7 was cut and left on site to decompose. This chapter describes the rate and manner of wood decomposition and quantifies the fluxes from decaying wood to the forest floor on WS 7. In doing so, it makes the case that wood and its process of decomposition contributes to ecosystem stability. It also reviews some of the history of wood decomposition and places the results in the context of detrital organic matter pools on the watershed. It shows that wood contributed to ecosystem resilience through woody debris decomposition and the subsequent flux of both organic matter and nutrients to the forest floor, increasing the nutrient content of detrital pools and supplying nutrients to the regrowing forest. As organic matter in wood decomposed into CO2 and was lost from the system, the regrowth of new vegetation fixed CO2 into new plant matter.

Keywords:   watersheds, clearcutting, wood decomposition, fluxes, forest floor, ecosystem stability, carbon dioxide

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