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Effects of Whole-Tree and Stem-Only Clearcutting on Postharvest Hydrologic Losses, Nutrient Capital, and Regrowth

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Nutrient removal by sawlog or pulpwood harvest (SAW), and whole-tree harvesting (WTH) was determined for 11 forest stands located throughout the United States. Data from this study combined with previously published nutrient budgets indicated potential net losses of Ca and K at most sites without harvest, and net losses of N, P, K, and Ca with either SAW or WTH. Total stem biomass and nutrients were significantly correlated with total above-stump biomass, providing a means for estimating nutrient removals with WTH and SAW in commercial forests. Limited data from harvested stands indicated greater regrowth biomass with SAW than with WTH on some sites. In the 11 harvested stands, hydrologic losses of N, K, and Ca generally increased immediately after harvest, but returned to levels comparable to control areas within 3 years. Because of the short duration of elevated nutrient losses, the hydrologic losses are considered minor relative to harvest removals. Ca and K are possible exceptions. The large difference in amounts of nutrients left on site in logging slash after SAW compared with WTH did not result in major differences in leaching or runoff at sites where comparisons were made. For. Sci. 34(2):412-428.
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Keywords: Whole-tree harvest; biomass; nutrients

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor, Department of Forestry, Clemson, SC 29631

Publication date: 1988-06-01

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    Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
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    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

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