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Effects of extensive forest management on soil productivity

Year of publication2000
Author(s)David F. Grigal
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Magazine No.Vol. 138, 11/2000
This paper focuses on the effects of extensive forest management on soil productivity, its capacity to produce plants. Forest productivity, the summation of the productivities of the individual landscape elements (stands) that comprise the forest, is the integration of soil productivity, climate, species composition and stocking, and stand history. Extensive forest management can be operationally defined by the monetary investment per unit area of land, or by the number of stand entries per rotation, or by a combination of those metrics. A stand entered once during a rotation, for harvest, is extensively managed while a stand that has been subjected to site preparation, planted with genetically improved stock, and thinned and fertilized is intensively managed. The distinction blurs between those extremes. Many reviews have summarized the effects of forest harvest, the major extensive management activity, on soil properties and hence on productivity. Rather than simply reiterating those reviews, I have framed the paper in a series of axioms (which all agree upon), corollaries (consequences to productivity that follow from the axioms and are also agreed upon), and postulates (proposed consequences that are subject to some uncertainty).