Natural Resource BiometricsCourse Woody Debris EstimationThe estimation of course woody debris (down logs on the forest floor) was pioneer by the forest fire community, in terms of forest fuel sampling. Since that time we have learned that estimation of course woody debris is important in nutrient cycling and as wildlife habitat. This can be estimated several ways. One of the conceptually simplest is to layout a fixed area plot and then measure the length and end diameters of all pieces of course woody debris in the plot. While this approach is simple in concept is can be difficult to implement in the field especially in areas of large load of course woody debris such as after cutting operations of after tornados. An alternative approach is that proposed by Van Wagner (1968) and previously by Warren and Olsen (1964). Van Wagner (1968) presented the following rules to apply this method.
FormulaThe basic formula, when all factors are in the same units (e.g. diameter in feet, length in feet, volume in cubic feet per square foot). where:
If weight is desired the volume estimate is simply multiplied by the specific gravity of the wood: where:
This method has some assumptions:
Also See: Van Wagner, C. E. 1968. The line intersect Method in forest Fuel Sampling. Forest Science 14(1):2026. Warren, W. G. and P. F. Olsen. 1964. A line intersect technique
for assessing logging waste. Forest Science 10:267276.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNoncommercial 3.0 United States License. Author: Dr. David R. Larsen Created: November 8, 1999 Last Updated: December 1, 2014 