November 1, 2011

Plot Census Finished in Pacific Northwest Temperate Forest of the U.S.

Fieldwork for the establishment of the Wind River Forest Dynamics (WFDP) plot finished in early October. Located in southwest Washington State, the plot extends 800 m east-west and 320 m north-south, for a total area of 25.6 ha. This configuration matches the Yosemite Forest Dynamics Plot in California and the Wabikon Forest Dynamics Plot in Wisconsin. The WFDP has approximately 35,000 trees (data entry not yet complete). In addition to tagging all woody stems according to the CTFS protocol, the project has mapped snags ≥10 cm dbh, continuous patches of shrub cover ≥2 m2, and large woody debris ≥50 cm diameter. Snags remain standing for decades in the Pacific Northwest, and constitute important habitat for vertebrates. Snag height and decomposition class will be measured as part of the 5-year measurements to track snag devolution over time. The project team measures shrubs because they form dense patches that inhibit tree regeneration, and woody debris because it can remain an important part of the ecosystem for centuries.
From left, Sean McMahon(SIGEO), Andy Jones (Oregon State), Stuart Davies (SIGEO),
and Jim Lutz (WFDP PrincipalInvestigator) in front of a typical Douglas-fir, 72 meters tall.

Wind RiverForest Dynamics Plot 2011 volunteers, Rachel Mickey,
Cassie Gamm, Dani Lange, SeanJeronimo, and James Freund,
demonstrate their techniques on the last dayof nailing.
The WFDP was established by the PIs (Jim Lutz and Andrew Larson), their students, a dedicated and waterproof field crew, and a large cadre of volunteers. The grid survey was conducted by surveying professionals and instructors and students from University of Washington, University of Montana, and Clark College.

More information about the Wind River Forest Dynamics Plot can be found at