Down deadwood dynamics on a severely impacted oak decline siteThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Following a 3-year drought from 1998 to 2000, oak decline symptoms began to appear throughout many parts of the Ozark Highland region of Arkansas and Missouri. Changes in down deadwood that occurred at one site during the oak decline event are described and discussed. In 2000, 24 deadwood measurement plots 0.2025 ha (45 m by 45 m) in size were established. The down deadwood on all plots was remeasured in the spring of 2005. Because 6 plots were burned in March of 2004, changes on only 18 of the 24 plots are considered. In each inventory, all down dead woody material with a diameter of 10 cm or greater was measured on each plot. Changes in volume occurred across the site. Overall, median total volume increased from 15.8 m3/ha to 22.9 m3/ha (p = 0.016). Down woody material was further divided into decomposition classes 1 through 5, where class 1 represents the least decomposed and class 5 represents the most decomposed material. Decomposition class 1 increased from a median of 0 m3/ha in 2000 to 0.13 m3/ha in 2005 (p = < 0.001). Class 2 increased from a mean of 2.1 m3/ha in 2000 to 4.7 m3/ha in 2005 (p = 0.013). There were no significant changes in down deadwood volume for decomposition classes 3, 4, or 5. The number of pieces of down deadwood also increased from a mean of 184 pieces per ha in 2000 to 245 pieces per ha in 2005 (p = 0.003). Results show an increase in down deadwood input. However, at this stage increases are generally in the smallest, least decomposed material on this dry and rocky site. The diameters of down deadwood pieces are small because inputs are mostly from branches and small trees. Most large trees that died have remained standing.