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Effects of Timber Harvest and Periodic Fire on Soil Chemical Properties in the Ouachita Mountains

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Soil chemical properties on mountainous terrain in oak-pine forests of southeastern Oklahoma changed following timber harvest and prescribed fire. Differences were related to residual stand characteristic, prescribed fire regimen, and vegetation change following site perturbation. Available NO3-N, Ca, and P significantly increased on harvested and burned sites, and on clearcut, windrowed, and summer burned sites compared to untreated sites. Nitrate levels were statistically unrelated to a 2,690% increase (7 to 190 lb/ac) in legume standing crop across site treatments. Nitrate levels were low, and these sites may be nitrogen limited. No increase was found in soil pH. Effects of burning harvested sites on most soil chemical properties generally persisted less than 2 yr. A timber harvest-fire interaction on levels of available K and Mg was evident 4 yr posttreatment. Timber harvest, periodic prescribed fire, and subsequent plant succession redirected nutrient cycling pathways and enhanced soil nutrient levels. Enhanced nutrient regimes are ecologically advantageous for stand reinitiation and recovery following site perturbation or natural disturbance. South. J. Appl. For. 17(3):139-145.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, P.O. Box 202, Clayton, OK 74536

Publication date: 1993-08-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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