Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Logging debris gives newly planted Douglas-fir forests a leg-up

Date:
March 12, 2013
Source:
USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station
Summary:
The downed limbs and other woody debris that are inevitable byproducts of timber harvest could be among the most important components of post-harvest landscapes, according to a new study.

The downed limbs and other woody debris that are inevitable byproducts of timber harvest could be among the most important components of post-harvest landscapes, according to a new study led by the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station.

Researchers found that retaining moderate levels of logging debris, also known as "slash," helped to both directly and indirectly increase the growth rate of Douglas-fir seedlings replanted after harvest. The findings, which are among the first to speak to the benefits of second-growth logging debris, are published online in the journal Forest Ecology and Management.

"At levels typically left after forest harvesting, where 40 percent of the ground is covered by logging debris, we found that debris inhibited the growth of competing herbaceous vegetation and so preserved soil water," said Tim Harrington, a research forester with the station and the study's lead. "This means that just leaving typical levels of debris in place after forest harvesting helps new Douglas-fir seedlings to become established."

The findings are based on a study of seedling development under three levels of logging debris -- 0, 40, and 80 percent cover -- at two sites in Washington and Oregon affiliated with the North American Long-Term Soil Productivity study, a collaborative program launched by Forest Service Research and Development more than two decades ago. Harrington and his colleagues expanded on previous research on logging debris effects by increasing the number of seedlings studied, extending the study period to four years, and looking at the responses of additional variables, like vegetation abundance and seedling water potential.

In addition to having a "vegetation control" effect, the retained woody debris helped promote Douglas-fir seedling growth by reducing evaporation; slowing decomposition and allowing soil carbon and other nutrients to accumulate; and inhibiting the invasion of aggressive, non-native species, including Scotch broom and hairy cat's ear.

These responses occurred where no herbicide treatments were applied. However, where the use of herbicides to control competing vegetation was combined with logging debris, seedling growth rates were the highest observed in the study, especially where debris cover was 80 percent.

"Industrial forest managers and private landowners in Washington and Oregon are already using early results of the study to prevent Scotch broom invasions," Harrington said. "But these new findings suggest that long-term forest productivity will benefit from debris retention, indicating much broader applicability of the research," Harrington said.

The study was conducted in collaboration with Robert Slesak, University of Minnesota; and Stephen Schoenholtz, Virginia Tech. It will appear in print in a forthcoming issue of the journal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Timothy B. Harrington, Robert A. Slesak, Stephen H. Schoenholtz. Variation in logging debris cover influences competitor abundance, resource availability, and early growth of planted Douglas-fir. Forest Ecology and Management, 2013; 296: 41 DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2013.01.033

Cite This Page:

USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station. "Logging debris gives newly planted Douglas-fir forests a leg-up." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130312102553.htm>.
USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station. (2013, March 12). Logging debris gives newly planted Douglas-fir forests a leg-up. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130312102553.htm
USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station. "Logging debris gives newly planted Douglas-fir forests a leg-up." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130312102553.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins