Low stocks of coarse woody debris in a southwest Amazonian forest

Timothy R. Baker*, Eurídice N. Honorio Coronado, Oliver L. Phillips, Jim Martin, Geertje M.F. Van Der Heijden, Michael Garcia, Javier Silva Espejo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


The stocks and dynamics of coarse woody debris (CWD) are significant components of the carbon cycle within tropical forests. However, to date, there have been no reports of CWD stocks and fluxes from the approximately 1.3 million km2 of lowland western Amazonian forests. Here, we present estimates of CWD stocks and annual CWD inputs from forests in southern Peru. Total stocks were low compared to other tropical forest sites, whether estimated by line-intercept sampling (24.4 ± 5.3 Mg ha-1) or by complete inventories within 11 permanent plots (17.7 ± 2.4 Mg ha-1). However, annual inputs, estimated from long-term data on tree mortality rates in the same plots, were similar to other studies (3.8 ± 0.2 or 2.9 ± 0.2 Mg ha-1 year-1, depending on the equation used to estimate biomass). Assuming the CWD pool is at steady state, the turnover time of coarse woody debris is low (4.7 ± 2.6 or 6.1 ± 2.6 years). These results indicate that these sites have not experienced a recent, large-scale disturbance event and emphasise the distinctive, rapid nature of carbon cycling in these western Amazonian forests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-504
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


  • Carbon balance
  • Decomposition rate
  • Net flux
  • Permanent plot
  • Tropical forest


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