Silva Fennica : quarterly issues : 38(3) : sa383279.htm

Glen Murphy, John G. Firth & Malcolm F. Skinner. 2004.

Long-term impacts of forest harvesting related soil disturbance on log product yields and economic potential in a New Zealand forest

Silva Fennica 38(3): 279–289

The effect of soil disturbance (litter removal, topsoil removal and compaction) from forest harvesting on the productivity, log product yields and economic potential of second-rotation Pinus radiata growing on a clay loam soil, was assessed in a long-term trial 21 years after planting. The results are projected forward to the expected harvest age of 28 years. Relative to control plots, average tree volume at 21 years was reduced by 8% in the plots where the litter had been removed and the topsoil had been compacted, and by up to 42% in the plots where the topsoil had been removed and the subsoil compacted. The “degree of compaction” did not have a significant effect on average tree volume in the plots where litter had been removed but did have a significant effect where the topsoil had been removed. Per tree economic potential was reduced to a greater extent (up to 60% loss in value) than average tree volume was reduced. This was largely due to changes in log product yield distribution. Projecting tree growth forward to the end of the rotation at age 28 indicated that the impacts of soil disturbance on tree growth, economic potential and log product yields are likely to be similar in relative terms to those found at age 21.

Keywords
harvesting, Pinus radiata, tree growth, litter removal, compaction

Addresses
Murphy, Forest Engineering Department, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA; Firth and Skinner, Forest Research, Sala Street, Rotorua, New Zealand. E-mail glen.murphy@orst.edu

Received 1 March 2004 Accepted 5 July 2004
ISSN 0037-5330

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