The Spatial Distribution of Dead Trees across Arkansas Timberlands
Abstract -- Dead trees are an important part of the forest ecosystem and their attributes have been studied at the stand scale. However, their distribution over a large region has rarely been examined. In this study, the distribution and dynamics of sound wood in dead trees and the ratio of dead to live trees across the Arkansas landscape were analyzed using U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis data. These data showed that deadwood volumes followed patterns of potential timberland productivity. Values were lowest in the northwestern portion of the State and increased to the south and east. For potential timberland productivity in the range of 20-49 ft3 per acre per year, mean deadwood volume was 52 ft3 per acre. Where potential site productivity was high (range = 165-224 ft3 per acre per year), mean deadwood volume was 177 ft 3 per acre. The ratio of the number of dead trees to number of live trees was not statistically significant among potential site productivity classes. Across all sites the ratio of dead to live trees was 0.089 (95 percent confidence interval = ± 0.009). Because this ratio appears to be relatively consistent over a wide range of forest conditions, it may have value as a forest health monitoring tool.