Canadian Forest Service Publications

Forest floor mesofauna communities respond to a gradient of biomass removal and soil disturbance in a boreal jack pine stand of northeastern Ontario (Canada). 2017. Rousseau, L.; Venier,L.; Hazlett, P.; Fleming, R.L.; Morris, D.; Handa. T. Forest Ecology and Management 407: 155-165.

Year: 2018

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 38918

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2017.08.054

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Plain Language Summary

Woody biomass is being increasingly harvested in Canadian boreal forests for use as a source of bioenergy, but there is concern over the environmental sustainability of harvesting practices. Our study aimed to assess how forest floor mesofauna communities responded to an increasing intensity gradient of biomass removal and soil disturbance in a Pinus banksiana forest in northeastern Ontario. Five experimental treatments were established that included a mature jack pine control stand (no recent harvesting) and harvesting of stem-only, whole tree (stem, top and branches), whole tree with stump removal and ultimately whole tree with stump and forest floor (organic layer) removal. Two years after treatment, we compared the structure of Collembola and Oribatida communities in moss, organic and mineral soil samples along this gradient. Both taxa had significantly lower abundance and species richness and more compositional dissimilarities in response to biomass removal compared to uncut mature stands. These differences were especially marked in the most intense removal treatments. We attributed this to the major loss of surface-dwelling species after harvesting and along the biomass removal gradient, especially in Oribatida communities, likely due to the loss of favourable microhabitats provided by moss and woody debris.