Coarse woody debris mass and nutrients in forest ecosystems of Korea

Rae Hyun Kim, Yowhan Son, Jong Hwan Lim, Im Kyun Lee, Kyung Won Seo, Jin Woo Koo, Nam Jin Noh, Soung Ryoul Ryu, Sun Kee Hong, Byung Sun Ihm

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Coarse woody debris (CWD) is an essential component of forests. However, quantification of both the mass and nutrient content of CWD within a given environment tends to be a fairly labor-intensive proposition that requires long-term studies to be conducted for viable data to be obtained. As a result, various aspects of CWD in forest ecosystems remain somewhat poorly understood. In this review, we have compiled all available estimates of CWD mass and nutrients from both coniferous and deciduous forests in Korea. The CWD mass data varied substantially by forest type, age, location, and sampling time, ranging from 1.5 to 24.5 Mg ha-1, and for the amount (kg ha-1) of nutrients in the CWD, ranging from 3.5 to 23.6 for nitrogen (N), 0.8 to 4.7 for phosphorus (P), 3.9 to 13.3 for potassium (K), 25.9 to 30.9 for calcium (Ca), 1.4 to 4.2 for magnesium (Mg), and 0.1 to 0.6 for sodium (Na). The mass of CWD transferred from live trees to the forest floor ranged between 0.1 and 4.9 Mg ha-1 year-1, and these values were roughly equivalent to 26-42% of the annual litterfall inputs (2.5-10.8 Mg ha-1 year -1) for mixed Quercus spp. forests within the relevant region. Annual nutrients inputs (kg ha-1 year-1) through CWD decomposition were 0.7-1.6 for N, 0.04-0.3 for P, 0.3-1.0 for K, 1.7-3.1 for Ca, and 0.1-0.3 for Mg. Consequently, these results revealed that the ecological value of CWD for C and nutrient cycling was relatively insignificant. However, only a limited number of studies have been conducted on CWD in different coniferous or mixed deciduous forests in the region. As a direct result of this paucity of data, further long-term studies on CWD mass and nutrients in a variety of forest types are required in order to be able to evaluate accurately the ecological value of CWD on biodiversity and physical properties in Korean forest ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-827
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Nov


  • Coarse woody debris
  • Deciduous forest
  • Decomposition
  • Mass
  • Nutrient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Coarse woody debris mass and nutrients in forest ecosystems of Korea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this