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01.06.2012 | Ausgabe 6/2012

Environmental Management 6/2012

Organic Matter Loading Affects Lodgepole Pine Seedling Growth

Zeitschrift:
Environmental Management > Ausgabe 6/2012
Autoren:
Xiaohua Wei, Qinglin Li, M. J. Waterhouse, H. M. Armleder

Abstract

Organic matter plays important roles in returning nutrients to the soil, maintaining forest productivity and creating habitats in forest ecosystems. Forest biomass is in increasing demand for energy production, and organic matter has been considered as a potential supply. Thus, an important management question is how much organic matter should be retained after forest harvesting to maintain forest productivity. To address this question, an experimental trial was established in 1996 to evaluate the responses of lodgepole pine seedling growth to organic matter loading treatments. Four organic matter loading treatments were randomly assigned to each of four homogeneous pine sites: removal of all organic matter on the forest floor, organic matter loading quantity similar to whole-tree-harvesting residuals left on site, organic matter loading quantity similar to stem-only-harvesting residuals, and organic matter loading quantity more similar to what would be found in disease- or insect-killed stands. Our 10-year data showed that height and diameter had 29 and 35 % increase, respectively, comparing the treatment with the most organic matter loading to the treatment with the least organic matter loading. The positive response of seedling growth to organic matter loading may be associated with nutrients and/or microclimate change caused by organic matter, and requires further study. The dynamic response of seedling growth to organic matter loading treatments highlights the importance of long-term studies. Implications of those results on organic matter management are discussed in the context of forest productivity sustainability.

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