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Grand Teton National Park Report

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In forest ecosystems, the decomposition of coarse woody debris, woody roots, twigs, leaves and micro-organisms is a primary source of mineral soil organic matter. Primary productivity, the accumulation of nutrients, and other important ecosystem processes are largely dependent on the mineral soil organic matter that has developed during hundreds or thousands of years. Large quantities of coarse woody debris are typically produced following natural disturbances such as fires, pest/pathogen outbreaks, and windstorms, and make a significant contribution to the formation of soil organic matter (SOM). In contrast, timber harvesting often removes much of the coarse woody debris (CWD), which could result in a decrease in the quantity and a change in the quality of mineral soil organic matter.