Forest Ecology and Management, 15 November 2015, Vol.356, pp.136-143
Phosphorus is an essential yet scarce macronutrient, and as such forest nutrition often relies on cycling of P between biomass and soils through litterfall and roots. For technical and soil protection reasons, modern harvesting systems create thick brash mats on skid trails by depositing residues, thus concentrating P there. What portion of this redistributed P is immobilized, lost, or recycled could be significant to forest nutrition and management. However, open questions exist regarding the quantity and fate of P deposited on skid trials. The aim of this study was to determine how much P is redistributed to skid trails and what happens to that P. We modeled the amount of P deposited on a skid trail during a whole-tree thinning of an Mill. stand, and quantified P stocks in the forest floor and mineral soil five years after the operation. An estimated 60% of harvested P from the encatchment was deposited on the skid trail. Five years after the harvest, forest floor P stocks in the skid trail dropped from an extrapolated 8.9 to 4.4 g m . The difference of 4.5 g m of P was not evident in mineral soil stocks, and loss through runoff or leaching would be minimal. With the greatest concentration of roots in the forest floor on the middle of the skid trail, mineralization and uptake of the missing P was the most likely explanation. This suggests that accumulated P on skid trails can be recycled through uptake by trees. Further testing in other stands and on which vegetation takes up accumulated P is still needed.
Nutrient Cycling ; Plant Uptake ; Whole-Tree Harvesting ; Brash Mats ; Allometric Modeling ; Forestry ; Biology
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