Standing dead tree resources in forests of the United StatesThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Given the importance of standing dead trees to numerous forest ecosystem attributes/ processes such as fuel loadings and wildlife habitat, the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program of the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, initiated a consistent nationwide inventory of standing dead trees in 1999. As the first cycle of annual standing dead tree inventories nears full national implementation, the goal of this study was to conduct one of the first empirical assessments of the Nation’s standing dead tree resources. Results indicate that there are a substantial number of standing dead trees in forests across the United States, exceeding 10 billion nationwide and consisting of mostly small-sized trees (< 30 cm d.b.h.). Forests in the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest have some of the largest mean biomass of standing dead trees per unit of forest land (+3 Mg/ha), whereas Plains States had the least. The species composition of standing dead trees is quite diverse with over 130 species having more than 1 million Mg each nationwide, but is dominated by western tree species (e.g., Douglas-fir, +200 million Mg). Given the emerging role of standing dead trees in biomass/bioenergy economies and carbon cycling, continued monitoring of this resource is highly warranted.