Installations of the Long-Term Soil Productivity Study were established in northern Minnesota and Michigan at the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Huron-Manistee National Forests (NFs) in the early 1990s and have since provided a wealth of data for assessing the response of aspen-dominated forest ecosystems to varying levels of organic matter removal and soil compaction. An assessment of 25-year standing woody biomass indicates that neither whole-tree harvest nor whole-tree harvest combined with forest floor removal reduced forest productivity on silt-loam soils compared with conventional, stem-only harvest; however, moderate and heavy compaction did negatively impact aspen biomass and stem densities. In contrast, whole-tree harvest reduced standing biomass of aspen and all species combined on sandy soils at the Huron NF while compaction had no discernable impact. Neither treatment factor affected vegetation response at the Ottawa NF (clay soils), but reduced sample size at this site may have increased variability. Over all, the response of standing biomass and forest structure to organic matter removal and compaction treatments demonstrate that the sustainability of practices such as whole-tree harvesting and associated potential for soil impacts varies with site conditions, even when stands are dominated by the same species (e.g., Populus tremuloides
Curzon, Miranda T.; Palik, Brian J.; D'Amato, Anthony W.; Schwager, Julia. 2020. Long-term soil productivity study: 25-year vegetation response to varying degrees of disturbance in aspen-dominated forest spanning the Upper Lake States. In: Pile, Lauren S.; Deal, Robert L.; Dey, Daniel C.; Gwaze, David; Kabrick, John M.; Palik, Brian J.; Schuler, Thomas M., comps. The 2019 National Silviculture Workshop: a focus on forest management-research partnerships. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-193. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 42-52. https://doi.org/10.2737/NRS-GTR-P-193-paper7.