Soil-Moisture Depletion by a Hardwood Forest during Drouth Years1
- Peter W. Fletcher and
- Howard W. Lull2
Daily soil-moisture readings were taken during two drouth years with fiberglas units installed on each of 8 plots at 8 depths in the upper 40 inches of soil in a polesize mixed oak and hickory stand, Butler County, Missouri. On two plots the trees were cut and removed and the litter burned (bare); on two the trees were cut and removed and litter was left intact (litter-only); on two the litter was burned (trees-only), and two plots were left undisturbed (trees-and-litter).
The litter-only plots remained wettest throughout both growing seasons, and bare plots occupied a position of medium wetness. The trees-only plots and the trees-and-litter plots had driest and similar soil moisture contents. Daily rates of soil profile drying during rainless periods were linearly related to moisture contents of the 40-inch depth for all but the litter-only plots. Drying rates decreased with increasing profile depth. As compared with undisturbed forest soil at field capacity, litter removal increased soil drying rates about 10%; tree removal decreased them about two-thirds. Removal of both trees and litter decreased soil drying rates about one-third.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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