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Effects of thinning on nutrient content pools in two Pinus sylvestris forests in the western Pyrenees

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Nutrient content [nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg)] in needles, branches and stems before (P0, not thinned) and after thinning (P20 and P30, 20% and 30% of basal area removed, respectively) was studied in 37- and 32-year-old Pinus sylvestris L. forests in the western Pyrenees: Garde and Aspurz. Thinning significantly decreased all nutrient pools in P20 and P30 relative to P0 on both sites, but no significant differences were found between P20 and P30 owing to low statistical power. Thinning increased the differences between the two forests for total above-ground content of P and Mg, and for the content of N, P and K in the 1999 needles cohort. The former result was due in part to the higher concentration of P (needles and branches) and Mg (needles) in Garde. Therefore, the importance of needles relative to the other nutrient pools increased for N and P after thinning. This may have resulted from the fact that the removal of dead trees with low needle biomass was greater in Garde than in Aspurz. Based on the percentage of basal area removed, nutrient removal in Garde for P30 was higher than expected, apparently owing to an increase in branch removal relative to P20. These results indicate that effects of thinning on nutrient pools were influenced by differences in stand structure and nutrient tissue concentrations between sites.
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Keywords: Above-ground nutrient content; Scots pine; Spain; forest management; nutrient cycling; thinning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Departamento de Ciencias del Medio Natural, Universidad P├║blica de Navarra, Navarra, Spain

Publication date: 2006-04-01

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