Canadian Forest Service Publications

Phosphorus forms and related soil chemistry of Podzolic soils on northern Vancouver Island. II. The effects of clear-cutting and burning. 2000. Cade-Menun, B.J.; Berch, S.M.; Preston, C.M Canadian Journal of Forest Research 30: 1726-1741.

Year: 2000

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 5532

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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When cedar-hemlock (CH) forests of northern Vancouver Island are clear-cut and replanted, growth of replanted trees is often poor. This growth check can be overcome with nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilization, suggesting that it may be due because of deficiencies of these elements. A widely used site-preparation tool in these forests is slash burning. Because fire is known to alter nutrient cycling in forests, this burning may be contributing to the problem of poor seedling growth. Thus, the objective of this study was to compare P in forest floor and soils from clearcut CH stands 10 years, 5 years and immediately after burning to P concentrations and forms in undisturbed old growth CH stands. Analytical methods included extraction and digestion procedures, fractionation and 31P-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Soon after burning, an "ashbed effect" was noted, with increased pH and higher concentrations of available P in surface soil horizons. Available P concentrations and pH returned to preburn levels within 10 years. However, destruction of organic matter appears to disrupt illuviation processes throughout the soil profile, producing long-term changes in organic matter, organic P, and organically complexed Fe and Al in lower mineral horizons. Total P concentrations were unchanged, but there was a shift from organic to inorganic P forms, and changes in P forms with time at depth in the profile. These changes in P distribution and movement in the soil may contribute to the growth check observed in these forests.