Determinants of deadwood volume in Budongo forest an Afrotropical medium altitude rainforest
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Deadwood is a major component of aboveground biomass in tropical forests and is important as habitat, nutrient cycling and carbon storage. With deforestation and degradation taking place throughout the tropics, improved understanding of the magnitude and spatial variation in deadwood is vital for the development of regional and global carbon budgets. However, this potentially important biodiversity indicator is poorly quantified and studied in Afrotropical forests and the determinants of deadwood are poorly documented. The aim of the study was to assess the factors that influence deadwood volume in Budongo central forest reserve with the following specific objectives; (i) to characterize deadwood in Budongo central forest reserve, (ii) to assess the effect of deadwood character on deadwood volume, (iii) to assess the effect of deadwood decay phase on deadwood volume, and (iv) to assess the relationship between forest structure and volume of dead wood. The amount of dead wood by component (downed logs, snags, stumps and small pieces) together with the decay phases (Deadwood largely intact, starting to soften and well decayed) were inventoried in 40 plots in both the logged and unlogged areas. The results indicated that in Budongo forest, deadwood exists in form of standing or lying deadwood and deadwood decay phase comprising largely intact, deadwood starting to soften, and well-decayed deadwood. Lying deadwood had the highest abundance while snags contained the highest deadwood volume. The results of this study demonstrate the variety of dead wood which has positive implications for biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration potential of Budongo forest.