Downed wood in Micronesian mangrove forests

James A. Allen, Katherine C. Ewel, Bobby D. Keeland, Tara Tara, Thomas J. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Dead, downed wood is an important component of upland forest and aquatic ecosystems, but its role in wetland ecosystems, including mangroves, is poorly understood. We measured downed wood in ten sites on the western Pacific islands of Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap, all located within the Federated States of Micronesia. Our goals were to examine patterns of variability in the quantity of downed wood in these mangrove ecosystems, provide a general characterization of downed wood in a region with no previously published accounts, and investigate the relationship between harvesting practices and the amount of downed wood. The overall mean volume of downed wood at our study sites was estimated to be 60.8 m3 ha-1 (20.9 t ha-1), which is greater than most published data for forested wetlands. There were significant differences among islands, with the sites on Kosrae (104.2 m3 ha-1) having a much greater mean volume of downed wood than those on Pohnpei (43.1 m3 ha-1) or Yap (35.1 m3 ha-1). Part of the difference among islands may be attributable to differences in stand age and structure, but the most important factor seems to be the greater amount of wood harvesting on Kosrae, coupled with a low efficiency of use of cut trees. Of a total of 45 cut trees examined on Kosrae, no wood had been removed from 18 (40%); these are believed to be trees cut down because other, more valuable, trees were caught on them as they were felled. Of the other 27 trees, only 24 to 42% of the stem volume (to a 10 cm top) was removed from the forest, the amount varying by species. The impacts of current harvesting practices are unknown but may include important effects on tree regeneration and the abundance and species composition of crab populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-176
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2000


  • Coarse woody debris
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Harvesting impacts
  • Kosrae
  • Pohnpei
  • Yap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • General Environmental Science


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