Carbon dynamics and nutrients in different decay stages of coarse woody debris in natural Hyrcanian forests, Northern Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Forestry, Faculty of Natural resources and Environment, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands (RIFR), Agricultural Research Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Forestry, Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, Sari Agricultural Science and Natural Resources University, Sari, Iran



The relationship between the degree of decay, carbon dynamics, and nutrients of coarse woody debris (CWD) were examined in the experimental forest of Kheirudkenar – Nowshahr as a part of Hyrcanian forests in Northern Iran. CWD (snag and log) with an average middle diameter more than 7.5 cm was recorded in 50 ha. For snag CWD, species type, diameter at the breast height and height, while for log CWD, species type, the average diameter and their length were determined and recorded. In the case of non-circular CWD cross-sections especially in the higher decay stages, diameter was determined by tape. All CWD were categorized in three diameter classes and the degree of their decay (snag and log) was determined. The CWD nutrients examined throughout taking a piece from each CWD and analysing them in the laboratory (60 specimens). The C/N ratio of CWD was obtained separately for diameter classes and degrees of decay. All data were tested for probability of fit to normal distribution. To identify the most influential gradients, principal component analysis (PCA) was applied. The nutrients in the trunk CWD in different diameter classes and degrees of decay showed that in most cases, there is a significant difference between them. The results of the C/N ratio of the total trunk of CWD showed that this ratio decreases by elevating the degree of decay and by upraising the diameter classes of CWD. The degrees of decay of CWD were majority related to N, C/N ratio, C and K respectively. This research demonstrated that the nitrogen and carbon concentrations among the decay classes and species type of CWD should be considered.


Âlvarez-DaÂvila, E, Cayuela, L, GonzaÂlez-Caro, S et al. 2017, Forest biomass density across large climate gradients in northern South America is related to water availability but not with temperature. PLoS ONE, 12: 0171072.
Amanzadeh, B, Sagheb-Talebi, Kh, Foumani, BS, Fadaie, F, Camarero, JJ & Linares, JC 2013, Spatial distribution and volume of dead wood in unmanaged Caspian Beech (Fagus orientalis) forests from Northern Iran. Forests, 4: 751-765.
Amiri, M, Rahmani, R & Sagheb-Talebi, KH 2015, Canopy gaps characteristics and structural dynamics in a natural unmanaged oriental beech (Fagus orientalis Lipsky) stand in the north
of Iran. Caspian Journal of Environmental Sciences, 13: 259-274.
Anonymous 2010, Forest Management Plan Gorazbon District of Khyrud Forest. Department of Forestry and Forest Economics, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Karaj, pp. 191-273.
Augusto, L, Meredieu, C, Bert, D, Trichet, P, Porte, A, Bosc, A, Lagane, F, Loustau, D, Pellerin, S, Danjon, F, Ranger, J & Gelpe, J 2008, Improving models of forest nutrient export with equations that predict the nutrient concentration of tree compartments. Annals of Forest Science, 65: 808–822.
Bantle, A,  Borken, W & Matzner, E 2014, Dissolved nitrogen release from coarse woody debris of different tree species in the early phase of decomposition. Forest Ecology and Management, 334: 277-283.
Beets, PN, Hood, IA, Kimberley, MO, Oliver, GR, Pearce, SH & Gardner, JF 2008, Coarse woody debris decay rates for seven indigenous tree species in the central North Island of New Zealand. Forest Ecology and Management, 256, 548-557.
Brunner, A & Kimmnis, JP 2003, Nitrogen fixation in coarse woody debris of Thuja plicata and Tsuga heterophylla forests on northern Vancouver Island. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 33: 1670-1682.
Christensen, M & Vesterdal, L 2003, Nat-Man WP7 report: prepared by members of Work-package7 in the Nat-Man project (Nature-based Management of beech in Europe) funded by the European Community 5th framework programme. Nat-Man Working Report, No. Vol. 25.
Cosmo, DL, Gasparini, P, Paletto, A & Nocetti, M 2013, Deadwood basic density values for national-level carbon stock estimates in Italy. Forest Ecology and Management, 295: 51-58,
Cousins, SJM, Battles, JJ, Sanders, JE & York, RA 2015, Decay patterns and carbon density of standing dead trees in California mixed conifer forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 353: 136–147.
Creed, IF, Webster, KL & Morrison, DL 2004, A comparison of techniques for measuring density and concentrations of carbon and nitrogen in coarse woody debris at different stages of decay. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 34: 744–753.
Dudley, N & Equilibrium Vallauri, D 2004, Deadwood living forests. WWF Report, pp. 1-19. DOI:
Emtiyazi, G 2002, Microbiology, University of Isfahan Press, 185 p.
Fierer, N, Schimel, JP, Cates, RG & Zou, J 2001, Influence of balsam poplar tannin fractions on carbon and nitrogen dynamics in Alaskan taiga floodplain soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 33: 1827–1839
Ganjegunte, GK, Condron, LM, Clinton, PW, Davis, MR & Mahieu, N 2004, Decomposition and nutrient release from radiate pine (Pinus radiate) coarse woody debris. Forest Ecology and Management, 187: 197-211. DOI: 10.1016/s0378-1127(03)00332-3.
Garrett,  LG, Davis, MR & Oliver, GR 2007, Decomposition of coarse woody debris, and methods for determining decay rates. New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science, 37: 227-240.
Garrett, LG, Oliver, GR, Pearce, SH & Davis, MR 2008, Decomposition of Pinus radiata coarse woody debris in New Zealand. Forest Ecology and Management, 255: 3839-3845.
Graham, RT, Harvey, AE, Jurgensen, MF, Jain, TB, Tonn, JR & Pagedumroese, DS 1994, Managing coarse woody debris in forests of the rocky-mountains. USDA Forest Service Intermountain Research Station Research Paper, 477: 1-13.
Gubena, AF & Soromessa, T 2017, Variations in forest carbon stocks along environmental gradients in Egdu Forest of Oromia Region, Ethiopia: Implications for sustainable forest management. American Journal of Environmental Protection, 6: 1-8.
Heidari Safari Kouchi1, A, Rostami Shahraji, T & Iranmanesh, Y 2015, Comparison of allometric equations to estimate the above-ground biomass of Populus alba species (Case study; poplar plantations in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province, Iran).  Caspian Journal of Environmental Sciences 13: 237-246.
Harmon, ME, Franklin, JF, Swanson, FJ, Sollins, P, Gregory, SV, Lattin, JD, Anderson, NH, Cline, SP, Aumen, NG, Sedell, JR, Lienkaemper, GW, Cromack, K & Cummins, KW 1986, Ecology of coarse woody debris in temperate ecosystems. Advances in Ecological Research, 15: 133-302,
Harmon, ME, Bond-Lamberty, B, Tang, J & Vargas, R 2011, Heterotrophic respiration in disturbed forests: a review with examples from North America. Journal of Geophysical Research, 116: 117.
Holub, SM, Spears, DH & Lajtha, KA 2001, Reanalysis of nutrient dynamics in coniferous coarse woody debris. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 31: 1894-1902. DOI: 10.1139/cjfr.
Jongman, RHG, Ter Braak, CJF & Van Tongeren, OFR 1995, Data analysis in community and landscape ecology. Cambridge University Press, 127 p.
Klockow,  PA, D’Amato, AW, Bradford, JB & Fraver, S 2014, Nutrient concentrations in coarse and fine woody debris of Populus tremuloides Michx.-dominated forest, northern Minnesota, USA. Silva Fennica, 48: 962.
Kogel-Knabner, I 2002, The macromolecular organic composition of plant and microbial residues as inputs to soil organic matter. Soil Biol Biochem, 34: 139-162, DOI: 10.1016/s0038-0717(01)00158-4.
Kooch, Y 2012, Response of earthworms' ecological groups to decay degree of dead trees (Case study: sardabrood forest of chalous, Iran). European Journal of Experimental Biology, 3: 532-538.
Koster, K, Metslaid, M, Engelhart, J & Koster, E 2015, Deadwood basic density, and the concentration of carbon and nitrogen for main tree species in managed hemiboreal forests. Forest Ecology and Management, pp: 35-42,
Lutz, J, Harold, R, Chandler, F & Morris, KG 1966, Forest soils, New york. 514 p.
Martin, M, Tremblay, JA, Ibarzabal, J & Morin, H 2021, An indicator species highlights continuous deadwood supply is a key ecological attribute of boreal old-growth forests. Ecosphere, 12: 1-19.
Mason, NWH, Bellingham, PJ, Carswell, FE, Peltzer, DA, Holdaway, RJ & Allen, RB 2013, Wood decay resistance moderates the effects of tree mortality on carbon storage in the indigenous forests of New Zealand. Forest Ecology and Management, 305: 177-188,
Mataji, a, Sagheb-Talebi, Kh & Eshaghi-Rad, j 2014, Deadwood assessment in different developmental stages of beech (Fagus orientalis Lipsky) stands in Caspian forest ecosystems. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 11: 1215-1222,
Meour, M 1993, Characterizing spatial patterns of trees using stem-mapped data. Forest Science, pp: 756-775.
 Moghimian, M, Jalali, SGh, Kooch, Y & Rey, A 2020, Downed logs improve soil properties in old-growth temperate forests of northern Iran. Elsevier, 30: 378-389,
Noh, NJ, Yoon, TK, Kim, RH, Bolton, NW, Kim, CH & Son, Y  2017, Carbon and Nitrogen Accumulation and Decomposition from Coarse Woody Debris in a Naturally Regenerated Korean Red Pine (Pinus densiflora S. et Z.) Forest. Forests, 8: 4-13, DOI: 10.3390/f8060214.
Olajuyigbe, SO, Tobin, B, Gardiner, P & Nieuwenhuis, M 2011, Stocks and decay dynamics of above- and belowground coarse woody debris in managed Sitka spruce forests in Ireland. Forest Ecology and Management, 262: 1109–1118. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2011.06.010.
Palviainen, M, Finer, L, Laiho, R, Shorohova, E, Kapitsa, E & Vanha-Majamaa, I 2010, Phosphorus and base cation accumulation and release patterns in decomposing Scots pine, Norway spruce and silver birch stumps. Forest Ecology and Management, 260: 1478-1489.
Pennisi, E 2009, Western U.S. forests suffer death by degrees. Science, 323, 447.
Russell, M, Fraver, SH, Aakala, T, Gove, JH, Woodall, CHW, D’Amato, AW & Ducey, MJ  2015, Quantifying carbon stores and decomposition in dead wood: A review. Forest Ecology and Management, 350: 107-128,
Sagheb-Talebi, Kh, Parhizkar, P, Hassani, M, Amanzadeh, B, Hemmati, A, Khanjani-Shiraz, B, Amini, M, Mohammadnejad Kiasari, Sh, Mirkazemi, SZ, Karimidoost, A, Maghsoudlou, MK, Mortazavi, M, Karandeh, M, Delfan Abazari, B, Moghadasi, D, Dastangoo, D, Mashayekh, V & Sayadi Marzdashti, A 2020, Preliminary results of survey on stand structure in permanent research plots of Hyrcanian intact beech forests. Iranian Journal of Forest and Poplar, 17 p. [In press, In Persian].
Sagheb-Talebi, Kh & Schütz, J-Ph 2002, The structure of natural oriental beech (Fagus orientalis) in the Caspian region of Iran and potential for the application of the group selection system. Forestry, pp. 465-472.
Schmid, AV, Vogel, CHS, Liebman, E, Curtis, PS & Gough, CHM 2016, Coarse woody debris and the carbon balance of a moderately disturbed forest. Forest Ecology and Management, 361: 38-45, DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2015.11.001.
Thiffault, E, Pare, D, Belanger, N, Munson, A & Marquis, F 2006, Harvesting intensity at clear-felling in the boreal forest: impact on soil and foliar nutrient status. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 70: 691–701.
Vanderwel, MC, Malcolm, JR & Smith, SM 2006, An integrated model for snag and downed woody debris decay class transitions. Forest Ecology and Management, 234: 48-59,
Vrška, T, Prˇíveˇtivy´, T, Janík, D, Unar, P, Šamonil, P & Král, K (2015) Deadwood residence time in alluvial hardwood temperate forests–A key aspect of biodiversity conservation. Forest Ecology and Management, 357: 33-41,
Wu, CH, Wang, H, Mo, Q, Zhang, ZH, Huang, G, Kong, F, Liu, Y & Wang, GG 2019, Effects of elevated UV-B radiation and N deposition on the decomposition of coarse woody debris. Science of the Total Environment, 663: 170-176,
Yuan, J, Cheng, F, Zhao, P, Qiu, R, Wang, L & Zhang, SH  2014, Characteristics in coarse woody debris mediated by forest developmental stage and latest disturbances in a natural secondary forest of Pinus tablaeformis. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 34: 232-238,
Yan, ER, Wang, XH, Huang, JJ, Zeng, FR & Gong, L 2007, Long-lasting legacy of forest succession and forest management: characteristics of coarse woody debris in an evergreen broad-leaved forest of Eastern China. Forest Ecology and Management, 252: 98-107.
Yang, FF, Li, YL, Zhou, Gi, Wenigmann, KO, Zhang, DQ, Wenigmann, M, Liu, SZ & Zhang, QM 2010, Dynamics of coarse woody debris and decomposition rates in an old-growth forest in lower tropical China. Forest Ecology and Management, 259: 1666-1672.
Zibilske, LM  1994,  Carbon mineralization. In: Weaver RW, Angle J S, Bott omley PS, Eds. Methods of soil analysis. Part 2. Microbiological and biochemical properties. Madison, WI, USA. Soil Science Society of America, pp. 64 -835.
Zhou, L, Dai, L, Gu, H & Zhong, L 2007, Review on the decomposition and influence factors of coarse woody debris in forest ecosystem. Journal of Forest Research, 18: 48-54.