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Turkey Lakes Harvesting Impacts Project

Nutrient Leaching from the Forest Soil

During harvesting, nutrients contained in stems branches are removed from the forest ecosystem.

After harvesting, plant nutrient uptake decreases and soil nitrogen production increases. This results in soil nutrient losses to leaching. Additional losses result from leaching of nutrients from logging slash.

For example, natural mortality in 1985 (approximately 33% loss in basal area) produced an immediate increase in nitrogen, calcium and magnesium leaching which was maintained for 2 to 3 years (Figure 1).

Picture of Figure 1: Nutrient Concentration in Soil Percolate

Figure 1: Nutrient Concentration in Soil Percolate

Will the cumulative loss of nutrients from the soil affect the soils's capability to supply nutrients to the vegetation? Will this affect the growth of the forest?

Short-term changes in nutrient cycling as a result of harvesting are being assessed. Long-term impacts on forest growth will be evaluated using computer modeling.

Picture of Nutrient Leaching From the Forest Soil

Picture of Nutrient Leaching From the Forest Soil

Picture of Nutrient Leaching From the Forest Soil