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Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1856; doi:10.3390/su9101856

Effect of Topping Trees on Biomass and Nitrogen Removal in the Thinning of Norway Spruce Stands

1
Institute of Forest Engineering, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Peter-Jordan-Str. 82/3, 1190 Vienna, Austria
2
Institute of Silviculture, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Peter-Jordan-Str. 82/3, 1190 Vienna, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 September 2017 / Revised: 6 October 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Abstract

In Central Europe, full-tree (FT) harvesting is an increasingly common harvesting method in steep terrain harvesting due to the increased use of highly economical processor tower yarders. In conventional FT harvesting, nutrient removal from harvest sites is substantially higher than in cut-to-length (CTL) harvesting due to the extraction of nutrient-rich branches and foliage. One strategy to reduce the adverse impact of FT harvesting is to cut off the tops of felled trees prior to extraction (topping). The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of implementing topping treatments in FT harvesting on biomass and nutrient removal. The effect of conventional FT harvesting on the amount of logging residues left on the site was assessed in three different Norway spruce (Picea abies)-dominated stands following cable yarding operations by collecting logging residues from the forest floor. The additional effect of topping trees on the amount of logging residues was assessed by using biomass models. These models were created based on the data of 25 sample trees, which were felled and sampled destructively within the stands. The results show that conventional FT harvesting considerably increases nutrient removal in comparison to CTL, but still do not remove all nutrients from the sites. After conventional FT harvesting, 5–18% of the nutrients remained on the sites. Topping trees at a diameter of 8 cm substantially increased the amount of remaining nutrients to 30–34%. View Full-Text
Keywords: FT harvesting; whole tree harvesting; nutrient removal; topping; cable yarding; biomass models; Picea abies FT harvesting; whole tree harvesting; nutrient removal; topping; cable yarding; biomass models; Picea abies
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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

Huber, C.; Kastner, M.; Hochbichler, E.; Stampfer, K. Effect of Topping Trees on Biomass and Nitrogen Removal in the Thinning of Norway Spruce Stands. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1856.

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