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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Shadecard and Shelterwood Modification of the Soil Temperature Environment1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 49 No. 4, p. 1018-1023
    Received: Sept 19, 1983
    Accepted: Jan 15, 1985

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  1. S. W. Childs,
  2. H. R. Holbo and
  3. E. L. Miller2



A study was conducted on steep, south-facing slopes in southwest Oregon to assess the effect of two common reforestation practices on the soil thermal environment. Three clearcut sites and three shelterwood sites were instrumented to measure soil temperature at five depths in the vicinity of shaded and unshaded Douglas-fir seedlings. Since the soils studied were skeletal, heat capacities of both fine and coarse soil fractions were determined for each site. These data were used to estimate soil heat fluxes. Shelterwoods decrease soil temperatures approximately 6 K when compared with clearcuts. This result holds at both 20- and 320-mm depths. Shelterwoods also decrease the depth of diurnal heating and decrease maximum hourly heat loss and gain values by 73 and 80 W/m2, respectively. Shadecards, cardboard rectangles placed to the southwest of seedlings, generally have little effect on the soil temperature regime of skeletal soils but are effective in reducing daily heat flux. The dominant shadecard effect is a decrease in average daytime heat flux by 22 W/m2, but shadecards also decrease average nighttime fluxes. Shelterwoods ameliorate seasonal soil temperature conditions significantly and may be an appropriate technique in situations where cumulative soil heating limits reforestation success. Shadecards should be useful in situations where heat stress events of only a few days are a problem. Over a season, shadecards exert little control, and their influence on stress is limited. Since all soils studied had high heat capacities due to large rock fragment content the conclusions of this study may be limited to soils with large soil heat capacity.

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