Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Chris Gough


Temperate forests are complex ecosystems that sequester carbon (C) in biomass. C storage is related to ecosystem-scale forest structure, changing over succession, disturbance, and with community composition. We quantified ecosystem biological and physical structure in two forest chronosequences varying in disturbance intensity, and three late successional functional types to examine how multiple structural expressions relate to ecosystem C cycling. We quantified C cycling as wood net primary production (NPP), ecosystem structure as Simpson’s Index, and physical structure as leaf quantity (LAI) and arrangement (rugosity), examining how wood NPP-structure relates to light distribution and use-efficiency. Relationships between structural attributes of biodiversity, LAI, and rugosity differed. Development of rugosity was conserved regardless of disturbance and composition, suggesting optimization of vegetation arrangement over succession. LAI and rugosity showed significant positive productivity trends over succession, particularly within deciduous broadleaf forests, suggesting these measures of structure contain complementary, not redundant, information related to C cycling.


© Cynthia M Scheuermann 2016 All Rights Reserved

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