As conservationists develop strategies for managing coarse woody debris in natural areas information on the volume and distribution of deadwood in relatively undisturbed forests provides a valuable baseline for management goals. Hyrcanian mixed hardwood forests, within middle elevations of the Alborz Mountains bordering the Caspian Sea in northern Iran, experience few human disturbances and provide an ideal study site to examine woody debris in a mature forest. This study had three object tives: (1) measure volume of coarse and fine woody debris in Hyrcanian mixed hardwood forests; (2) compare density of forms of coarse woody debris (stumps, logs, and snags); and (3) correlate volume of living trees with volume of coarse woody debris. To sample the density and volume of dead wood, 15 plots of 1 ha (coarse woody debris) and 15 plots of 4 m2 (fine woody debris) were established. Coarse woody debris had an average volume of 15 m3 ha-1 and fine woody debris had an average of 10 m3 ha-1. The most common form of coarse woody debris was logs (67%) and the most frequent species was Oriental beech (Fagus orientalis) (55%). The volume of Oriental beech coarse woody debris was no significantly correlated with the volume of living Oriental beech trees (P = 0.77); however, the volume of European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) coarse woody debris was significantly correlated to the volume of living European hornbeam (P = 0.01). The volume of coarse woody debris found in this study was considerably lower than has been measured in other Oriental beech forests and this may be a long-tern effect of historical grazing practices at this site, which emphasizes the importance of gathering a full historical context for a forest before it is used as a baseline for conservation management.
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Vol. 33 • No. 3