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Shifts in Aboveground and Forest Floor Carbon and Nitrogen Pools After Felling and Burning in the Southern Appalachians

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Changes in aboveground and forest floor mass, carbon (C), and nitrogen (N) pools were quantified on three sites in the southern Appalachians 2 yr after felling and burning. Before felling and burning, stands were characterized by sparse overstories and dense Kalmia latifolia L. understories. Two years after burning, foliar C and N pools had reached 25% and 29% of pretreatment levels, respectively. Foliar N concentrations were not different from pretreatment values. Standing wood C and N pools were 1% and 2%, respectively, of pretreatment values. Wood N concentrations were significantly higher on two sites, likely related to differences in fire intensity. Forest floor N content 2 yr after burning was 90% of pretreatment levels, most contained in unconsumed large woody material. Forest floor mass was significantly lower in the Oi layer and unchanged in the Oe + Oa layers. Forest floor N concentrations were generally lower after treatment. The site with the least intense fire and the lowest mass loss from the forest floor had the highest forest floor, foliage, and wood N concentrations 2 yr after burning. Site recovery after felling and burning was a function of fire severity and the capacity for site-nutrient retention through plant uptake. For. Sci. 42(4):431-441.

Keywords: Fire; Kalmia latifolia L; nutrient retention; site preparation; stand restoration

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Project Leader of the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Otto, NC 28763

Publication date: 1996-11-01

More about this publication?
  • 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.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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