Modeling Snag Fall and Coarse Woody Debris Dynamics

Changes in climate and shifts in insect and disease dynamics are expected to result in increased tree mortality, inevitability resulting in increases in snag and downed log populations. These structures are known to serve important roles in biodiversity, trophic chains, forest natural regeneration, nutrient cycling and overall carbon storage, yet snag fall and downed log decay rates are rarely quantified. While short-term (less than 30 years) snag fall rates following insect outbreak or wildfire have been explored using chronosequences, there is a general lack of research investigating long-term dynamics and there have been no prediction models locally developed for decomposition in southwestern frequent-fire ecosystems.


This research projects will address this area of needed research by

  1. Assessing and modeling short- and long-term snag fall and downed log decay rates for southwestern ponderosa pine
  2. Validate functions within the Fire and Fuels Extension (FFE) as implemented in the Central Rockies Variant of the Forest Vegetation Simulator.