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Site Preparation Effects on 20 Year Survival and Growth of Douglas-Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and on Selected Soil Properties

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Long-term effects of site preparation on tree performance and soil properties are not well known. Five site preparation treatments were evaluated to determine how they affected survival and growth of Douglas-fir 3, 10, and 20 yr after planting, and soil bulk density, C, N, P, and organic matter concentrations at 0 to 20 cm soil depth 21 yr after planting. The site preparation treatments were imposed following logging of three harvest units of old-growth forest on a volcanic soil in southwestern Washington; the units were logged to leave 17, 38, and 53 ton/ha of woody residue. The site preparation treatments were hand-pile-and-burn, machine-pile-and-burn, scarification, broadcast burn, and control. Mean survival ranged from 86% at age 3 to 70% at age 20, and average tree heights at 3, 10, and 20 yr were 0.6, 4.1, and 11.7 m. The scarification treatment had the best growth; at age 20, its average tree was 21% taller, 26% larger in diameter, and 82% greater in volume than the control. The hand-pile-and-burn treatment did not differ from the control in tree growth; the machine-pile-and-burn and broadcast burn treatments were intermediate in their growth response. Average soil bulk density was 0.74 g/cm3, organic matter concentration was 118 g/kg, and C, N, and P concentrations were 49, 1.6, and 0.7 g/kg with no significant treatment effects. Site preparation may have benefited growth of the trees on these units by decreasing competition from invading and regrowing vegetation, increasing nutrient availability, or increasing soil temperature. West. J. Appl. For. 18(1):44–51.

Keywords: Long-term site productivity; coarse woody debris; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; prescribed fire; soil nutrients

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry, Syracuse, NY, 13210, 2: (retired) Pacific Northwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 3625 93rd Ave. SW, Olympia, WA, 98512-9193,

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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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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