Forest Investment Account

Abstract of FII Project R2003-221

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Effects of climate on organic matter decomposition in forests of British Columbia

Author(s): Prescott, Cindy E.
Imprint: Vancouver, B.C. : University of British Columbia, 2003
Subject: Decomposition, Organic matter, Forests and Forestry, Climatic Factors
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program


Decomposition data from several biogeoclimatic zones represented in a BC-wide experiment indicated that decomposition was slowest in the relatively warm ponderosa pine and interior Douglas-fir zones. Using on-site, Environment Canada, and BC Ministry of Forest fire weather stations, we developed a model to predict decomposition in BC that incorporates both temperature and moisture. Our equation predicts decomposition of a common substrate (lodgepole pine needles) using potential evapotranspiration and average annual precipitation during the incubation period. Decomposition across BC is negatively correlated with PET and positively correlated with precipitation. An article has been submitted to the BC Journal of Ecosystem Management that indicates that several of our beliefs about rates of decomposition are not valid. We have prepared a rough draft of a manuscript, which provides details of the influence of climate on decomposition. This effort to synthesize over a decade of research and to make the findings known represents a significant contribution to ensuring that forest management decisions are based on a scientifically sound understanding of how forests work. This project has also made a contribution to our understanding of the factors that control decomposition.
Cindy Prescott.

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Updated August 02, 2006 

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