Graduation Date

Summer 2020

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Natural Resources, option Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences

Committee Chair Name

Kevin Fingerman

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Jeffery Kane

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Harold Zald

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environmental Science and Management


Decay of woody debris is a major carbon flux for forests. Decay processes are not well documented in forest modeling frameworks but play an important role in forest carbon cycling and life cycle assessments of forest-derived products. The main drivers of decay are species, vertical location, and climate. A database of literature values for decay by tree species was created to parameterize a larger model of California forestland carbon cycling. A novel methodology was applied to vary these decay values for each species spatially based on climatic drivers of decay. This resulted in decay values for each species and size class as well as the weighted average at each site across the state of California. These decay values can be reported as 50% residence times ranging from 4 to 144 years for coarse woody debris, giving forest managers a better sense of how long residues will persist in the field once they are created. The residence times can be further adapted to account for the effect of piling materials on decay rate. This approach could be extended beyond California to show decay variation in other systems.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location