Canadian Forest Service Publications

Forest-floor chemical properties are altered by clear-cutting in boreal mixedwood forest stands dominated by trembling aspen and white spruce. 2005. Hannam, K.D.; Quideau, S.A.; Kishchuk, B.E.; Oh, S.-W.; Wasylishen, R.E. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 35(10): 2457-2468.

Year: 2005

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 25829

Language: English

Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (request by e-mail)

Mark record


Alterations in the chemical properties of the forest floor following clear-cut harvesting may have implications for forest productivity in boreal stands. We used proximate analysis, carbon-13 (13C) isotopic determination, and cross-polarization, magic-angle spinning (CPMAS) 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to examine differences in the characteristics of the forest floors from uncut stands and clear-cut stands dominated by white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss; SPRUCE) and trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.; ASPEN) in northern Alberta. Proximate analysis revealed no difference in the chemical properties of forest floors from clear-cut and uncut stands in either stand type, but the acid-insoluble residue of forest floors from clear-cut ASPEN stands was enriched in 13C compared with those from uncut ASPEN stands. CPMAS 13C NMR spectroscopy revealed that forest floors from clearcuts were enriched in total aromatic C, particularly in ASPEN stands, and depleted in phenolic C, particularly in SPRUCE stands. These patterns indicate that forest floors from the clearcuts have become more humified, which may reflect stand-type differences in the amount of labile C available to the forest-floor microbial community and reductions in above- and below-ground inputs to the forest floor following clear-cutting in both stand types. Changes in the chemical properties of forest floors from clear-cut SPRUCE and ASPEN stands could exacerbate C limitation in these soils and alter patterns of nutrient cycling.