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Site Productivity and Soil Conditions on Terraced Ponderosa Pine Sites in Western Montana

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The USDA Forest Service built terraces on the Bitterroot National Forest in the 1960s and 1970s as a means of mechanical site preparation prior to machine-planting ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) in clearcuts. We examined the influence of terracing on planted ponderosa pine and soil characteristics more than 20 yr after site treatment and planting. Replicated plots at three separate paired (terraced/unterraced) sites were measured for tree diameter at breast height (dbh), total tree volume, planted tree volume and height, and understory biomass. Soil samples were analyzed for total C, Bray-1 extractable P, exchangeable K, soil pH, soil water-holding capacity, and particle size distribution. Terraced sites had significantly higher tree volumes, heights, and dbh, and higher silt contents than unterraced sites. Two of the three terraced sites also had greater understory biomass than the unterraced sites. Soil C and nutrient concentrations on terraced and unterraced pairs were generally similar. West. J. Appl. For. 14(1):35-40.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: School of Forestry, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812

Publication date: 1999-01-01

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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 Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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