Mass and nutrient content of decaying boles in an engelmann spruce subalpine fir forest rocky mountain national park colorado usa
Arthur, M.A.; Fahey, T.H.
Canadian Journal of Forest Research 20(6): 730-737
ISSN/ISBN: 0045-5067 Accession: 007534481
We classified dead bole wood in an old-growth Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir (Picea engelmannii Parry-Abies lasiocarpa (Hook.) Nutt.) forest in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, into decay classes and measured dead bole surface area, volume, biomass, and nutrient content. Biomass of dead boles was 70 Mg/ha, about half as large as aboveground live biomass in these forests. Net accumulation of N, P, Ca, and Na occurred with increasing decay. The N:P ratio varied little with decay, approaching a value of 20 in the most decayed wood, typical of that found in other studies of dead boles. Loss of K during bole decay exceeded the rate of weight loss, whereas Mg loss followed weight loss. The total pools of nutrients in dead boles and in parentheses, the amount of nutrients stored in dead boles as a percentage of total above- and below-ground living, forest floor, and dead wood nutrients were 92.2 kg N/ha (7%), 4.89 kg P/ha (5%), 67.9 kg K/ha (16%), 156.6 kg Ca/ha (12%), 28.9 kg Mg/ha (17%), and 0.74 kg Na/ha (9%). Storage of relatively high amounts of Ca in dead wood of most natural forests indicates that management could have a significant effect on its availability in the long term.