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Biomass Removal and Nutrient Drain as Affected by Total-Tree Harvest in Southern Pine and Hardwood Stands

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When all above-stump parts of southern pine trees are harvested, only 16 to 22 percent more biomass is obtained than in conventional harvests. This additional biomass is of low quality because of its high moisture and bark content and low wood specific gravity. In addition, its harvest doubles the removal of certain important soil nutrients. When hardwood stands are total-tree harvested, the additional biomass yield is 30 to 100 percent higher than in conventional harvests, and the quality of biomass for fuel and fiber is above that for pine stands. Nutrient drain for hardwood stands logged by total-tree methods is 2 to 3 times that in conventional harvesting, but the drain may be less critical than for pine stands because rotations are generally longer and soil nutrient reserves are often higher. Total-tree harvesting has made many hardwood stands operable that previously were not, thereby increasing the silvicultural opportunity to improve the stands. Judged by these comparisons, total-tree harvesting would appear to be more attractive, both economically and ecologically, in hardwood stands than in pine.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor, Department of Forestry, Clemson University

Publication date: 1984-09-01

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

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