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Effect of Harvest Residue Management on Tree Productivity and Carbon Pools during Early Stand Development in a Loblolly Pine Plantation

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Abstract:

Soil incorporation of postharvest forest floor or logging residues during site preparation increased mineral soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) concentration and had a differential effect on early stand growth in a clonal loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) plantation. Incorporating 25 Mg ha−1 of forest floor (FF) (C/N ratio ≈ 112:1) or 25 (1LR) or 50 (2LR) Mg ha−1 masticated logging residues (C/N ratio ≈ 856:1) increased soil C concentration by 24−49% in the top 60 cm of soil compared with that for a nontreated control or a raked (R) treatment where the forest floor (−25 Mg ha−1) was removed. Although the long-term treatment effects on soil C are unknown, increased macro-organic matter C (150‐2,000 μm) in the recalcitrant heavy fraction coupled with an estimated 20- to 35-year turnover rate for the incorporated residues suggests that soil C will be elevated in the FF, 1LR, and 2LR treatments through the current rotation. There was a treatment × age interaction on stand volume growth (P = 0.03) caused by a differential response to FF and LR treatments. Relative to the control, the FF treatment increased stem volume growth and stand homogeneity, resulting in 18% more stand volume at age 6. In contrast, the LR treatments initially suppressed volume growth; however, at age 6 there were no significant differences in stem volume among control and LR treatments. Six-year stand volume was 116.6, 112.6, 135.1, 116.0, and 112.3 (SE 3.6) m3 ha−1 in the control, R, FF, 1LR, and 2LR treatments, respectively. Whereas the efficacy of organic matter management will be site-dependent, our results suggest that soil incorporation of forest residues during site preparation can have positive benefits for productivity and building soil C on sites with relatively high inherent soil C stocks.

Keywords: biomass; carbon sequestration; ecosystem carbon; nitrogen; soil carbon

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5849/forsci.11-069

Publication date: 2012-10-01

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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