Author(s): Clinton S. Wright, Alexander M. Evans, Joseph C. Restaino
Year Published: 2017
Description: Hand-constructed piles in eastern Washington and north-central New Mexico were weighed periodically between October 2011 and June 2015 to develop decay-rate constants that are useful for estimating the rate of piled biomass loss over time. Decay-rate constants (k) were determined by fitting negative exponential curves to time series of pile weight for each site. Piles at the Washington site (k = 0.027/year) decomposed significantly more slowly than piles at the New Mexico site (k = 0.064/year). Significant differences in k for each site may be a function of a between-site variation in pile composition (with or without large woody material), the environmental dissimilarities between sites (Mediterranean climate regime in Washington vs. monsoonal climate regime in New Mexico), or a combination of factors.
Citation: Wright, Clinton S.; Evans, Alexander M.; Restaino, Joseph C. 2017. Decomposition rates for hand-piled fuels. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 18 p.