Title: Fuel reduction practices and their effects on soil quality
Author: Busse, Matt D.; Hubbert, Ken R.; Moghaddas, Emily E. Y.;
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-241. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 156 p.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Description: Soils sustain our terrestrial ecosystems, help fuel plant growth, and govern key ecosystem services such as the storage and provision of clean water, degradation of toxic compounds, and regulation of atmospheric gases. Preserving the integrity of soil thus is an earnest responsibility of land stewardship in the United States. This report provides a synthesis of soil chemical, biological, and physical responses to various prescribed fire and mechanical thinning practices and offers practical considerations for use in fuel reduction planning. A wide range of current topics, identified in a nationwide survey of natural resource managers, is discussed in detail: (1) ecological consequences of prescribed fire on soil heating, water repellency, and soil nitrogen release; (2) whole tree harvesting and nutrient removal; (3) soil compaction; (4) masticated fuel beds; (5) pile burning; (6) cumulative effects of fire and thinning; (7) coarse woody debris; and (8) soil in a changing climate. We submit that with thoughtful planning and implementation, reducing fuels while proactively managing our soils can be complementary outcomes.
Keywords: Prescribed fire, mechanical thinning, compaction, soil fertility, soil productivity.
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Busse, M.D.; Hubbert, K.R.; Moghaddas, E.E. Y. 2014. Fuel reduction practices and their effects on soil quality. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-241. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 156 p.
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