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
    Author(s): J.A. Foote; T.W. Boutton; D.A. Scott
    Date: 2015
    Source: Forest Ecology and Management 355: 48-57
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (942.65 KB)


    Land management practices have strong potential to modify the biogeochemistry of forest soils, with implications for the long-term sustainability and productivity of forestlands. The Long-Term Soil Productivity (LTSP) program, a network of 62 sites across the USA and Canada, was initiated to address concerns over possible losses of soil productivity due to soil disturbance from forest management. Network sites employ an experimental design consisting of three harvest intensities (bole only, whole tree, whole tree + forest floor removal) in combination with three soil compaction intensities (none, intermediate, severe). Our purpose was to determine the impact of forest harvest intensity, soil compaction, and their interaction on soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) storage, and on soil microbial biomass C and N (MBC and MBN, respectively) in a Pinus taeda L. forest 15-years post-treatment at the Groveton LTSP site in eastern Texas, USA. Soils were sampled (0–10 cm) five times during 2011–2012, and we quantified SOC and TN by dry combustion, and MBC and MBN by chloroform fumigation extraction. SOC and TN were both higher in the bole only treatment compared to the more severe harvest treatments; however, while TN was significantly impacted by harvest and varied seasonally, SOC varied only with season. MBC and MBN were impacted by harvest intensity and varied seasonally, and SMB-N had a harvest by time interaction. Generally, both microbial indices decreased in the order: bole only, whole tree, whole tree + forest floor. Temporal variations in MBN and TN were correlated with temperature. Soil compaction and the harvest intensity soil compaction interaction had no effect on the measured soil properties. Since N limits tree growth in forest ecosystems, and because soil microbial biomass plays a key role in N mineralization, data suggest that harvest practices that minimize removal of litter and slash will favor soil N retention, maintain the size of the soil microbial biomass pool, and maximize the potential productivity of future rotations.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • 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.


    Foote, J.A.; Boutton, T.W.; Scott, D.A. 2015. Soil C and N storage and microbial biomass in US southern pine forests: influence of forest management. Forest Ecology and Management. 355: 48-57.


    Google Scholar


    Soil microbial biomass, Soil organic carbon, Soil total nitrogen, Forest harvest, Long-term soil productivity experiment

    Related Search

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