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Which Selective Logging Intensity is Most Suitable for the Maintenance of Soil Properties and the Promotion of Natural Regeneration in Highly Continental Scots Pine Forests?–Results 19 Years after Harvest Operations in Mongolia

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Department of Environment and Forest Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, National University of Mongolia, 14201, Mongolia
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Institute of Forest, National University of Mongolia, 14201, Mongolia
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Division of Forest Conservation, Institute of Geography and Geoecology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, 15710, Mongolia
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Department of Ecology, School of Agroecology, Mongolian University of Life Sciences, 17024, Mongolia
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Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology, Universität Göttingen, Büsgenweg 5, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
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International Forestry Consultancy Gradel, Bergkirchener Straße 259, 32549 Bad Oeynhausen, Germany;
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(2), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020141
Received: 30 December 2018 / Revised: 3 February 2019 / Accepted: 4 February 2019 / Published: 9 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Operations: Planning, Innovation and Sustainability)
Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forests are one of the main vegetation types in the Asian forest-steppe zone. However, over-harvesting currently threatens the natural regeneration and sustainability of these forests. In this study, we examine the long-term effects of different logging intensities on soil properties and natural regeneration in a natural Scots pine forest in the West Khentii Mountains (Mongolia), 19 years after selective logging. Our experimental design included five treatments: clear cut (CC), treatments with high (HI), medium (MI), low (LI) intensities, and a reference parcel with no logging impact at all (RE). We described and quantified the harvest events and applied ANOVA and LMM modeling to analyze and explain the long-term impacts of the logging intensities on soil properties and natural regeneration. We found that logging has a significant negative influence on the physical and chemical properties of the soil because it increases soil compaction and reduces soil nutrients. The most critical impacts of logging were on soil bulk density, total porosity, organic matter, and total nitrogen and phosphorus. The LMM modeling showed that organic matter (OgM), total nitrogen (TN), available K (AK) and pH values are especially impacted by logging. Our study revealed that the values for all of these variables show a linear decrease with increasing selective logging intensity and have a level of significance of p < 0.05. Another finding of this study is that selective logging with low and medium intensities can promote natural regeneration of Scots pine to numbers above those of the reference site (RE). High intensity logging and clear-cuts, however, limit the regeneration of Scots pine, reduce overall seedling numbers (p < 0.05), and create conditions that are suitable only for the regeneration of deciduous tree species. This underlines the risk of Scots pine forest degradation, either by replacement by broad-leaf trees or by conversion into non-forest ecosystems. View Full-Text
Keywords: forestry; forest management; soil; forest steppe; regeneration; silviculture; Mongolia forestry; forest management; soil; forest steppe; regeneration; silviculture; Mongolia
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Sukhbaatar, G.; Nachin, B.; Purevragchaa, B.; Ganbaatar, B.; Mookhor, K.; Tseveen, B.; Gradel, A. Which Selective Logging Intensity is Most Suitable for the Maintenance of Soil Properties and the Promotion of Natural Regeneration in Highly Continental Scots Pine Forests?–Results 19 Years after Harvest Operations in Mongolia. Forests 2019, 10, 141.

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