Title: First-year postfire and postharvest soil temperatures in aspen and conifer stands
Author: Amacher, Michael C.; Johnson, Amber D.; Kutterer, Debra E.; Bartos, Dale L.
Source: Res. Pap. RMRS-RP-27-WWW. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 24 p.
Publication Series: Research Paper (RP)
Description: Aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) stands are in decline throughout the Interior Western United States because of fire suppression, overbrowsing by domestic livestock and native ungulates, and forest succession. We measured summertime soil temperatures in stable aspen, decadent aspen, and mixed aspen/conifer stands; a mixed aspen/conifer clearcut; a mixed aspen/conifer forest that was burned in a lightning-caused fire; and a decadent aspen stand and mixed aspen/conifer stand that received prescribed burns. Soil temperature fluctuations and mean soil temperatures were greater in cut and burned areas than in untreated stands. In untreated stands, mean soil temperature increased in the order: mixed aspen/conifer < stable aspen < decadent aspen. Soils under the closed canopy of mixed aspen/conifer stands tended to remain cool in the summer favoring organic matter accumulation. The relatively open canopy of decadent aspen stands allowed for increased light penetration and soil heating favoring organic matter breakdown. Cutting and burning greatly increased summertime shallow soil temperature, also favoring increased organic matter turnover and aspen suckering. Postdisturbance regrowth of grasses and forbs and aspen suckering shaded soils. Eventually, soil temperature in treated or disturbed areas should approach that of stable aspen stands.
Keywords: forest succession, grazing, Populus tremuloides Michx., erosion, forest health
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Amacher, Michael C.; Johnson, Amber D.; Kutterer, Debra E.; Bartos, Dale L. 2001. First-year postfire and postharvest soil temperatures in aspen and conifer stands. Res. Pap. RMRS-RP-27-WWW. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 24 p.
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