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Twenty-year effects of mechanical site preparation and windrow burning treatments on soil properties and Pinus contorta var. latifolia nutrition in sub-boreal British Columbia

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This study examined mechanical site preparation and windrow burning effects on soil properties and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) foliar nutrients on a sub-boreal site in north-central British Columbia, Canada. After two decades, there were no adverse long-term effects on soil bulk density. Rather, bulk densities to 20 cm depth declined continuously in all treatments including the control. Coarse mixing was associated with lasting increases in organic matter-related properties [total carbon (C) and nitrogen (N), ammonium-N, C/N] compared with the control, whereas plow-inverting, disk trenching, fine mixing and windrow burning had no lasting effects on these attributes. In contrast, windrow burning caused persistent increases in pH and related properties (cation exchange capacity, exchangeable calcium and potassium) relative to the control. Mechanical treatments had more short-lived effects on these properties, with the exception that coarse mixing caused significant 20-year reductions in pH relative to the control. There were slight deficiencies of foliar N, sulfur (S) and boron according to published thresholds. None of the treatments affected foliar N, and the effects on total S and sulfate-S were highly variable and not statistically significant. Boron deficiency in the control and mechanical treatments worsened between years 10 and 20, whereas levels on burned windrows were continuously high.
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Keywords: Foliar nutrients; lodgepole pine; mechanical site preparation; soil bulk density; soil nutrients; windrow burning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: BC Ministry of Forests and Range, Forest Practices Branch, Victoria, BC, Canada 2: J. Heineman Forestry Consulting, Vancouver, BC, Canada 3: International Statistics and Research Corporation, Brentwood Bay, BC, Canada

Publication date: 2010-12-01

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