The effects of moisture content and initial heterotrophic colonization on the decomposition of coarse woody debris Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/m613n112t

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  • Previous research on coarse woody debris (CWD) indicated that moisture content and initial heterotrophic colonization of decaying wood can affect the decomposition process. Six heterotrophic treatments were created to simulate the effects of physical penetration of the bark and wood and the transmission of ascomycetes versus basidiomycetes into CWD. In 1995, 360 Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) were randomly placed at five replicate sites in old-growth stands. Each site had 6 heterotrophic (HET) x 2 moisture combinations (TENT). One set of logs representing the treatment combinations was used for sampling respiration and another set was used to measure volume affected by insect gallery excavations and fungal rot and to determine decay rates. Respiration was sampled three times during the summer of 2001. The results indicated that the HET treatments were no longer affecting respiration rates. Analysis of the average of the three sampling periods revealed no TENT effect but examinations of the individual sampling dates suggests that tented logs might have higher respiration rates than non-tented logs as summer progresses. In the aggregate, the TENT treatment reduced moisture content from 45% to 36%, a 20 percent reduction in moisture levels. The HET and the TENT treatments did not affect decay rates. The mean density change for the logs was -0.072 g/cm³ ± 0.03 and the mean decay constant was 0.026 ± 0.011. The TENT treatment did affect heterotrophic activity. The mean volume of wood borer excavation and extent of brown rot was higher in the tented logs (256 cm³) than in the non-tented logs (59.9 cm³). There was also a statistically significant interaction between the HET and TENT treatments. The largest differences in volume affected by wood borers and fungal rot were found in treatments that injected ascomycetes into the experimental logs. In sum, there was limited evidence that the differences in moisture content caused by the TENT treatment affected the decomposition process but the HET treatments appear to not be directly influencing decomposition after six years. The findings suggest differences in the initial community composition of heterotrophs have a decreasing impact on the decomposition process as it progresses.
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