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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - Forest, Range & Wildland Soils

Effects of Forest Harvest on Soil Carbon and Related Variables in Canadian Spodosols


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 76 No. 5, p. 1816-1827
    Received: Mar 26, 2012
    Published: September 12, 2012

    * Corresponding author(s): sgrand@mail.ubc.ca
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  1. Stephanie Grand *a and
  2. Les M. Lavkulicha
  1. a Soil Water Air Lab., Univ. of British Columbia, 2357 Main Mall, Vancouver BC, Canada V6T1Z4


Knowledge about soil organic carbon (SOC) response to forest harvest in conifer stands is limited. The objective of this study was to determine the short- to medium-term effects of bole-only clearcut harvest on SOC and related variables in a Douglas fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirbel) Franco]-dominated forest of southwestern British Columbia. We collected soil samples from control (mature forest), cleared (harvested 1–5 yr before sampling), and regenerating (harvested 8–15 yr before sampling) stands and measured SOC, pH, texture, moisture, total N, loss-on-ignition, effective cation exchange capacity (CECe), and pyrophosphate-extractable Fe and Al. We found that SOC stocks in the forest floor were higher in cleared and regenerating plots than in control. The mineral subsoil played an important role in the overall response of SOC storage after harvest. In mineral horizons, SOC concentration was higher in cleared plots and similar to control levels in regenerating plots. Treatment effects were restricted to SOC associated with the sand size fractions. This suggests that clearcutting resulted in additional soil organic matter (SOM) inputs to the mineral soil, but that these inputs were not stabilized or retained in regenerating plots. Harvest also affected bulk organic matter composition. The C/N and C/SOM ratios were lower in regenerating plots while the CECe/C ratio was higher, suggesting an increase in organic matter maturity and oxidation.

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Copyright © 2012. Copyright © by the Soil Science Society of America, Inc.