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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Spatio-Temporal Variation of Coarse Woody Debris Input in Woodland Key Habitats in Central Sweden

Jönsson, Mari; Fraver, Shawn; Jonsson, Bengt Gunnar


The persistence of many saproxylic (wood-living) species depends on a readily available supply of coarse woody debris (CWD). Most studies of CWD inputs address stand-level patterns, despite the fact that many saproxylic species depend on landscape-level supplies of CWD. In the present study we used dated CWD inputs (tree mortality events) at each of 14 Norway spruce (Picea abies) dominated woodland key habitat sites to analyze the spatial and temporal patterns of CWD additions between 1950 and 2002 within a small landscape in central Sweden. We found that inputs were episodic within sites, where local windstorms created pulses in CWD input. Pulses occurred simultaneously in many sites, yielding landscape-level synchrony of CWD input. These synchronous pulses, and importantly, the breaks between pulses, may have negative implications for saproxylic species that are dependent on large volume inputs of freshly killed Norway spruce. In addition, the inherent small size and relative isolation of these sites may further increase extinction risks due to stochastic events. However, background CWD input rates occurring between pulses varied substantially among sites, presumably the result of the sites' varied histories and structural characteristics. This finding suggests that the different sites have varied abilities to provide habitat for saproxylic species during periods with low landscape-level input of CWD.


boreal forest; dendrochronology; disturbance dynamics; Picea abies; tree mortality; woodland key habitats; windstorms

Published in

Silva Fennica
2011, Volume: 45, number: 5, pages: 957-967
Publisher: Finnish Society of Forest Science, Finnish Forest Research Institute

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    Forest Science

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