Accumulation and preservation of dead wood upon burial by bryophytes
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Ulrike Hagemann; Martin T. Moroni; Johanna Gleißner; Franz Makeschin
Publication Year: 2010

Cataloging Information

  • age classes
  • black spruce
  • boreal forests
  • bryophytes
  • buried dead wood
  • Canada
  • carbon
  • carbon cycling
  • catastrophic fires
  • cover
  • decomposition
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • feathermoss
  • fire injuries (plants)
  • fire management
  • forest management
  • fuel management
  • fuel moisture
  • Labrador
  • litter
  • moisture
  • mosses
  • necromass
  • nutrient cycling
  • organic layer
  • organic matter
  • Picea
  • Picea mariana
  • Pleurozium
  • Pleurozium
  • senescence
  • snags
  • temperature
  • wildfires
  • wood
  • woody debris
  • woody plants
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: May 22, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 48644
Tall Timbers Record Number: 24824
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Not in File
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Large amounts (389 ± A 39 m3 ha-1) of preserved dead wood buried by bryophytes were found in the organic layer (OL) of overmature (146- to 204-year-old) black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) forests in the high-boreal forest of eastern Canada. Stand-replacing wildfires consumed the organic layer and killed the previous stands, producing snags, which subsequently fell and became buried by moss, resulting in large amounts of wood buried deep in the current organic layer. As new forest stands developed, self-thinning and senescence continuously produced minor amounts of woody debris (WD) for burial, most of which was located in the upper half of the organic layer. The experimental burial of standardized sample logs at various depths in the organic layer showed that burial significantly decreased WD temperature, increased WD moisture content, and tended to decrease WD respiration rates, indicative of reduced decomposition activity. WD preservation may be initiated by a live bryophyte cover, providing thermal insulation and moisture retention, generating an environment unfavorable to decomposition. As bryophytes are a vital component of many coniferous ecosystems throughout the circumpolar boreal and mountain forests, conditions conducive to WD burial are likely widespread. Buried wood may thus be of global relevance as habitat and a large mid- to long-term carbon store. © 2010 UKCrown: Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service - Atlantic Forestry Centre.

Online Link(s):
Hagemann, U., M. T. Moroni, J. Gleissner, and F. Makeschin. 2010. Accumulation and preservation of dead wood upon burial by bryophytes. Ecosystems, v. 13, no. 4, p. 600-611. 10.1007/s10021-010-9343-4.