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Research article2013Peer reviewedOpen access

Effects of clear-cutting and slash removal on soil water chemistry and forest-floor vegetation in a nutrient optimised Norway spruce stand

Hedwall, Per-Ola; Grip, Harald; Linder, Sune; Lövdahl, Lars; Nilsson, Urban; Bergh, Johan


Fertilisation with nutrient optimisation has in Sweden resulted in large increases in volume growth in young stands of Norway spruce. There are, however, environmental concerns about repeated fertilisation and one is the risk of nutrient leakage to ground water resources and aquatic ecosystems after clear-cutting of such forests. The present study followed soil-water chemistry in optimised fertilised stands after clear-cutting, as well as effects of harvest of slash on nutrient leakage. Parts of a 30-year-old stand of Norway spruce, which had been subject to a nutrient optimisation experiment for 17 years, were clear-cut. A split-plot design with whole-tree harvesting as the sub-plot treatment was applied. Lysimeters were installed and soil-water sampled at nine occasions during the following four years. No significant effects of fertilisation on nitrate leaching were found, while harvest of slash affected the concentration of Ca, DOC, DON, K, Mg, ammonium and nitrate, as well as pH in the soil solution. While no effects of fertilisation could be seen on the soil water concentration of N, the results indicate an interaction between fertilisation and harvest of slash on the concentration of nitrate in the soil solution. The results indicate that forest-floor vegetation plays an important role in the retention of N after clear-cutting of fertilised forests.

Published in

Silva Fennica
2013, Volume: 47, number: 2, article number: 933
Publisher: Finnish Society of Forest Science, Finnish Forest Research Institute