Canadian Forest Service Publications

Is the use of trees with superior growth a threat to soil nutrient availability? A case study with Norway spruce. 2004. Bélanger, N.; Paré, D.; Bouchard, M.; Daoust, G. Can. J. For. Res. 34: 560-572.

Year: 2004

Available from: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 24879

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)


The renewed interest in the use of fast-growing tree species is accompanied by concerns about the adverse effects that these trees may have on soil. Four Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) provenance trials in Quebec were used to test the hypothesis that a more vigorous growth would not occur at the expense of marginalizing available nutrient pools. On these sites, the provenance showing the greatest overall productivity (high treatment) and the one showing the lowest productivity (low treatment) were studied. The divergence in total aboveground nutrient contents between the high and low treatments was high in all sites (i.e., 161%–209%). Increased nutrient immobilization in trees did not cause any significant soil depletion of available base cations or total N at any site. Moreover, exchangeable Ca concentrations, cation-exchange capacity, and exchangeable Ca pools in the forest floor were significantly higher in the high treatment. It is concluded that in the short term, increased nutrient immobilization in trees does not create an apparent depletion of available base cations, perhaps because of a stimulation of soil mineral weathering and (or) a better retention of nutrients by the trees. Also, an effort to simulate mineral weathering using PROFILE showed the need for model improvement for applications at the plot level.

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