Nutrient Concentration of Down Woody Debris in Mixedwood Forests in Central Maine, USA
- Saunders, Mike R.
- Fraver, Shawn
USFS Northern Research Station
- Wagner, Robert G.
University of Maine
Both nutrient concentrations and pre- and post-harvest pool sizes were determined across down woody debris decay classes of several hardwood and softwood species in a long-term, natural disturbance based, silvicultural experiment in central Maine. Concentrations of N, P, Ca, Mg, Cu, Fe, and Zn generally increased 2- to 5-fold with increasing decay class. Concentrations of Mn, Al and B did not differ among decay classes, while K decreased by 20–44% from decay class 1 to class 4. C:N-ratios declined with increasing decay class, while N:P-ratios increased from decay class 1 to 2 and then plateaued with further decay. Within decay classes, softwoods generally had lower nutrient concentrations and higher C:N-ratios than hardwoods; N:P-ratios did not differ between hardwoods and softwoods. Although gap harvesting increased the size of the overall down woody debris nutrient pools, mostly through a large pulse of decay class 1 material, harvesting generally reduced the nutrients held in advanced decay classes. Pre-harvest down woody debris pools for N, P, K and Ca were 11.0, 0.6, 2.1 and 21.1 kg ha–1, respectively, while postharvest were 20.0, 1.3, 6.2 and 46.2 kg ha–1, respectively. While the gap-based silvicultural systems sampled in this study doubled the size of the pre-harvest, downed woody debris nutrient pools, the post-harvest pools were estimated to be only 3.2–9.1% of aboveground nutrients.
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