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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Sediment and Nutrient Export in Runoff from Burned and Harvested Pine Watersheds in the South Carolina Piedmont1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 14 No. 2, p. 169-174
    Received: June 29, 1984

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  1. D. H. Van Lear,
  2. J. E. Douglass,
  3. S. K. Cox and
  4. M. K. Augspurger2



Soil and nutrient export in ephemeral flow were studied over a 3-yr period following clearcutting three loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) watersheds (0.60–1.24 ha). Two preharvest, low-intensity prescribed fires had no effect on flow or water quality. Harvesting after the third prescribed fire significantly increased sediment concentration and export, but increases were minor compared with sediment export reported for mechanical site preparation. Nutrient concentrations varied among watershed locations because of differences in surface soil depth, but were generally unaffected by harvest. Because harvest increased runoff, nutrient export (concentration × flow) was generally increased. Results of this study show that loblolly pine stands in the erosive Piedmont physiographic region can be harvested following a series of low-intensity prescribed fires with minimal soil loss or degradation of water quality.

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