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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Carbon and nitrogen pools and mineralization rates in boreal forest soil after stump harvesting

Kaarakka, Lilli; Hyvönen, Riitta; Strömgren, Monika; Palviainen, Marjo; Persson, Tryggve; Olsson, Bengt; Launonen, Erno; Vegerfors-Persson, Birgitta; Helmisaari, Heljä-Sisko


The use of forest-derived biomass has steadily increased in Finland and Sweden during the past decades leading to more intensive forest management practices in the region, such as whole-tree harvesting, both above- and belowground. Stump harvesting results in a direct removal of stump and coarse-root carbon (C) from the stand and can cause extensive soil disturbance, which has been suggested to increase C mineralization. In this study, the effects of stump harvesting on soil C and nitrogen (N) mineralization, and soil surface disturbance were studied in two different clear-felled Norway spruce (Picea abies) sites in Central Finland. The treatments were whole-tree harvesting (WTH, removal of stems and logging residues), and WTH and stump harvesting (WTH + S). Both sites, Honkola (2 stands) and Haukilahti (6 stands) were mounded. In both treatments, soil samples were taken from different soil layers down to a total depth of 20 cm in the mineral soil from (i) mounds, (ii) undisturbed soil and (iii) pits. The sampling was performed 11-12 years after treatments. Soil C and N mineralization rates were determined in laboratory incubation experiments. In addition, total C and N pools (g m(2)) were estimated for each disturbance class and soil layer. Soil C and N pools had a tendency to be lower following stump harvesting, but no statistically significant treatment effect was detected. Stump harvesting increased soil mixing as indicated by a significant decrease in C concentration in the mound disturbance class. There was no significant effect of stump harvesting on soil C mineralization rates. A combination of mineralization rates and soil pool data showed that field C mineralization (g CO2-C m(-2) yr(-1)) did not significantly differ between stands where stumps were removed or were retained. Further, stump harvesting did not seem to have any stimulating effect on soil CO2 efflux 11-12 years after treatment. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Stump harvest; Bioenergy; Norway spruce; Forest soil; Soil carbon

Published in

Forest Ecology and Management
2016, volume: 377, pages: 61-70

Authors' information

Kaarakka, Lilli
University of Helsinki
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Palviainen, Marjo
University of Helsinki
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Launonen, Erno
University of Helsinki
Vegerfors-Persson, Birgitta
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Helmisaari, Heljä-Sisko
University of Helsinki

UKÄ Subject classification

Soil Science
Forest Science

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