Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (416 KB bytes)

Title: Rapid soil development after windthrow disturbance in pristine forests.

Author: Bormann, B.T.; Spaltenstein, H.; McClellan, M.H.; Ugolini, F.C.; Cromack, K. Jr.; Nay, S.M.;

Date: 1995

Source: Journal of Ecology. 83: 747 - 757

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: 1. We examined how rapidly soils can change during secondary succession by observing soil development on 350-year chronosequences in three pristine forest ecosystems in south-east Alaska. 2. Soil surfaces, created by different windthrow events of known or estimated age, were examined within each of three forest stands (0.5-2.0 ha plots; i.e. a within-stand chronosequence method). Soil surfaces are more likely to have developed under common climate and vegetation conditions within stands than in the spatially separated ecosystems used in traditional chronosequence studies. 3. We observed rates of change that were higher than those previously reported for secondary succession, and were similar to those described for primary succession. Well-developed spodic and albic (podzol) horizons with characteristic C, Fe, and Al signatures were found in soil surfaces less than 150 years old. Carbon accumulated linearly at 21 g m-2 year-1; mineral P and N became increasingly immobilized in the spodic horizon as time passed. We found no trend toward an equilibrium in C or N accumulation over the 350-year chronosequences in any of the three stands examined. 4. These rapid changes in soil and a shift in rooting from mineral to organic horizons appeared likely to reduce productive capacity of the soil during a single generation of trees. Windthrow or disturbances that mimic windthrow may be required at intervals of about 200-400 years to maintain soil productive capacity in these ecosystems.

Keywords: C accumulation, chronosequence, disturbance frequency, podzolization, soil development, soil disturbance, windthrow

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Bormann, B.T.; Spaltenstein, H.; McClellan, M.H.; Ugolini, F.C.; Cromack, K., Jr.; Nay, S.M. 1995. Rapid soil development after windthrow disturbance in pristine forests. Journal of Ecology. 83: 747 - 757


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.