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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


The contribution of coarse woody debris (CWD) to forest carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) dynamics is poorly quantified. This study quantified total C and N content in CWD and estimated the decomposition rates of CWD at different decay stages in a 70-year-old naturally regenerated Korean red pine forest (Pinus densiflora S. et Z.). The N concentration in CWD varied among species and decay classes (from 0.15% to 0.82%), and exhibited a decreasing pattern in C:N ratios with increasing decay class. Total CWD amounts of 4.84 Mg C ha−1, dominated by pine logs (45.4%) and decay class III (40.0%), contained total N of 20.48 kg N ha−1, which was approximately nine times the N input from annual tree mortality. In addition, this study demonstrated that the decay constant rate k was 0.2497 for needle litter, whereas k values were 0.0438, 0.0693, 0.1054, and 0.1947 for red pine CWD of decay class I, II, III, and IV, respectively. The decay rates were significantly related to wood density, N concentration, and C:N ratio across the decay classes of CWD. The results suggest that the C:N ratio of CWD is a key factor affecting its decomposition.

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© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( Publisher’s version of record:

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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