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Forests 2013, 4(4), 751-765; doi:10.3390/f4040751
Article

Spatial Distribution and Volume of Dead Wood in Unmanaged Caspian Beech (Fagus orientalis) Forests from Northern Iran

1
, 2
, 3
, 4
, 5,6
 and 7,*
1 Research Center of Agriculture and Natural Resources of Guilan Province, Km 10 Tehran Highway, Rasht 3394-41635, Iran 2 Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands, Tehran 13185-116, Iran 3 Young Researchers Club-Islamic Azad University-Rasht Branch, P.O. Box 1841, Rasht 41436-64965, Iran 4 Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Mazandaran, Pasdaran Street 47415, P.O. Box 416, Babolsar 41432-67973, Iran 5 ARAID, Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología (CSIC), Avda. Montañana 1005, Apdo. 202, Zaragoza 50192, Spain 6 Departamento de Ecologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Avda. Diagonal 645, Barcelona 08028, Spain 7 Departamento de Sistemas Físicos, Químicos y Naturales, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Ctra. de Utrera km 1, Sevilla 41002, Spain
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 June 2013 / Revised: 3 September 2013 / Accepted: 4 September 2013 / Published: 26 September 2013
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Abstract

Unmanaged forests are remnants of natural ecosystems that provide a basis for close-to-nature silvicultural research and applications. These forests have high amounts of dead wood, and although this material is being increasingly studied, the diversity of dead wood in terms of different diameters, decay stages, and spatial distribution patterns is as important as its volume for understanding forest dynamics. Here, we study natural forests in northern Iran to investigate the spatial distribution, decay stages, and volume of dead wood in unmanaged temperate forests at different developmental stages. Three stem-mapped sampling plots (100 m × 100 m) were established in uneven-aged stands dominated by Caspian beech (Fagus orientalis Lispsky). The total dead wood ranged from 37 to 119 m2 ha−1. Our results imply a spatial distribution shift from aggregation to randomness for dead trees in Caspian beech forest succession. We detected significant spatial interactions (attraction) between living and dead trees at short to medium spatial scales (1–20 m) in the plot with the earlier successional stage, suggesting that intra-specific competition is a prevailing force causing tree mortality at the stem-exclusion phase. By contrast, as trees become dominant with the mortality of other trees, the random tree-mortality pattern prevails. The spatial distribution and volume of dead wood may serve as a management target in near-to-natural Caspian beech forest. On the basis of our results, conservation-oriented management strategies should take into account the increasing amount of dead wood, particularly of large diameter in a late stage of decay.
Keywords: beech; dead wood; Caspian forest; nature-based forest management; spatial-pattern analysis; succession; tree mortality; uneven-aged forest; unmanaged forests; wood decay; Fagus orientalis beech; dead wood; Caspian forest; nature-based forest management; spatial-pattern analysis; succession; tree mortality; uneven-aged forest; unmanaged forests; wood decay; Fagus orientalis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Amanzadeh, B.; Sagheb-Talebi, K.; Foumani, B.S.; Fadaie, F.; Camarero, J.J.; Linares, J.C. Spatial Distribution and Volume of Dead Wood in Unmanaged Caspian Beech (Fagus orientalis) Forests from Northern Iran. Forests 2013, 4, 751-765.

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