Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    The long-term response of total soil organic carbon pools ('total SOC', i.e. soil and dead wood) to different harvesting scenarios in even-aged northern hardwood forest stands was evaluated using two soil carbon models, CENTURY and YASSO, that were calibrated with forest plot empirical data in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Overall, 13 different harvesting scenarios that included four levels of aboveground biomass removal (20%, 40%, 60% and 90%) and four different rotation lengths (60 year, 90 year, 120 year, and No Rotation (NR)) were simulated for a 360 year period. Simulations indicate that following an initial post-harvest increase, total SOC decreases for several decades until carbon inputs into the soil pool from the re-growth are greater than losses due to decomposition. At this point total SOC begins to gradually increase until the next harvest. One consequence of this recovery pattern is that between harvests, the size of the SOC pool in a standmay change from -7 to 18% of the pre-harvest pool, depending on the soil pool considered. Over 360 years, the average annual decrease in total SOC depends on the amount of biomass removed, the rotation length, and the soil pool considered. After 360 years a stand undergoing the 90yr-40% scenario will have 15% less total SOC than a non-harvested stand. Long-term declines in total SOC greater than 10% were observed in the 60yr-60%, 60yr-90%, and 90yr-90% scenarios. Long-term declines less than 5% were observed in scenarios with 120 year rotations that remove 60% or less of the aboveground biomass. The long-term decreases simulated here for common management scenarios in this region would require intensive sampling procedures to be detectable.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • 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.


    Johnson, Kristofer; Scatena, Frederick N.; Pan, Yude. 2010. Short- and long-term responses of total soil organic carbon to harvesting in a northern hardwood forest. Forest Ecology and Management. 259(7): 1262-1267.


    Google Scholar


    northern hardwood forest, soil carbon modeling, process-based modeling, forest soil carbon

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page