Plant and Soil

, Volume 263, Issue 1, pp 53–67 | Cite as

Decomposition and nutrient release from logging residues after clear-cutting of mixed boreal forest

  • M. Palviainen
  • L. Finér
  • A.-M. Kurka
  • H. Mannerkoski
  • S. Piirainen
  • M. Starr


Elevated dissolved carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentrations are frequently observed in surface water soon after clear-cutting of boreal coniferous forests. It has been suggested that they originate from the fine logging residues whose decomposition may be accelerated as a result of changes in soil temperature and moisture conditions. In the present study, the decomposition rate and release of C, N, and P from Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), Norway spruce (Picea abies Karsten) and silver birch (Betula pendula Roth.) logging residues (fine roots ∅≤2 mm, branches ∅≤10 mm and foliage) were investigated during three years with the litterbag method in a clear-cut area and in an adjacent Norway spruce dominated, mixed boreal forest in eastern Finland (63°51′ N, 28°58′ E, 220 m asl). The mass loss of the logging residues decreased in the order: foliage > roots > branches. Birch leaves were the only fraction that showed significantly higher losses of mass and C at the clear-cut plot than at the forest plot; otherwise there was no tendency for accelerated decomposition or mineralization at the clear-cut plot. After three years the initial C pool in the logging residues had declined by 33% and that of P by 49% but there was no net release of N as more N accumulated in roots and branches than was released from foliage. The results indicate that 1) logging residues release relatively large and rapid fluxes of CO2 to the atmosphere 2) are potential source of elevated P in surface waters soon after clear-cutting 3) are not a net source of N immediately after clear-cutting.

carbon harvesting mineralization nitrogen phosphorus 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Palviainen
    • 1
  • L. Finér
    • 2
  • A.-M. Kurka
    • 1
  • H. Mannerkoski
    • 2
  • S. Piirainen
    • 1
  • M. Starr
    • 1
  1. 1.The Finnish Forest Research InstituteJoensuu Research CentreJoensuuFinland
  2. 2.Faculty of ForestryUniversity of JoensuuJoensuuFinland

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