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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Soil Nutrient Changes Following Whole Tree Harvesting on Three Northern Hardwood Sites1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 49 No. 6, p. 1552-1557
    Received: Apr 26, 1984
    Accepted: July 5, 1985

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  1. G. D. Mroz,
  2. M. F. Jurgensen and
  3. D. J. Frederick2



Three northern hardwood stands were clearcut to evaluate the effect of whole tree harvesting on sites of varying quality. Stands were growing on sandy, outwash soils and had red maple (Acer rubrum L.) site indices of 15, 19, and 20 and biomass values of 114, 165, and 181 Mg ha−1. Harvesting did not alter extractable soil P levels significantly on any site. Forest floor weights decreased to similar values on all sites 1.5 yr after harvest. Nitrogen losses of over 1.3 Mg ha−1 occurred in the top meter of soil on all sites. This was attributed to the mixing of the forest floor with the surface mineral soil by the full tree skidding and the subsequent leaching of mineralized N. Soil exchangeable K decreased more than 1 Mg ha−1 on all sites. Changes in Ca and Mg were much smaller on the low and medium than on the high site. These losses from surface soil horizons are higher than reported previously for clearcutting northern hardwoods on till soils. The greatest impact of whole tree harvest on soil nutrients occurred on the better sites in this study rather than on the poor quality site.

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