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Forests 2015, 6(12), 4495-4509; doi:10.3390/f6124383

Effects of Cutting Intensity on Soil Physical and Chemical Properties in a Mixed Natural Forest in Southeastern China

1
School of Transportation and Civil Engineering, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350002, Fujian, China
2
Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Philip J. Polglase and Eric J. Jokela
Received: 10 August 2015 / Revised: 23 November 2015 / Accepted: 7 December 2015 / Published: 11 December 2015
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Abstract

The mixed Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook.), Masson’s pine (Pinus massoniana Lamb.), and hardwood forest is a major forest type in China and of national and international importance in terms of its provision of both timber and ecosystem services. However, over-harvesting has threatened its long-term productivity and sustainability. We examined the impacts of timber harvesting intensity on soil physical and chemical properties 10 and 15 years after cutting using the research plots established with a randomized block design. We considered five treatments, including clear cutting and low (13.0% removal of growing stock volume), medium (29.1%), high (45.8%), and extra-high (67.1) intensities of selective cutting with non-cutting as the control. The impact on overall soil properties derived from principal component analysis showed increasing with a rise in cutting intensity, and the most critical impact was on soil nutrients, P and K in particular. Soil nutrient loss associated with timber harvesting even at a low cutting intensity could lead to nutrient deficits in this forest although most of the soil physical properties could be recovered under the low and medium intensities of cutting. These results indicate that clear cutting and the selective cutting of extra-high and high intensities should be avoided in this type of forest in the region. View Full-Text
Keywords: selective harvesting; mixed forest; forest soil; soil nutrients; principal component analysis selective harvesting; mixed forest; forest soil; soil nutrients; principal component analysis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhou, X.; Zhou, Y.; Zhou, C.; Wu, Z.; Zheng, L.; Hu, X.; Chen, H.; Gan, J. Effects of Cutting Intensity on Soil Physical and Chemical Properties in a Mixed Natural Forest in Southeastern China. Forests 2015, 6, 4495-4509.

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