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): B.T. Bormann; H. Spaltenstein; M.H. McClellan; F.C. Ugolini; K. Cromack; S.M. Nay
    Date: 1995
    Source: Journal of Ecology. 83: 747 - 757
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    PDF: View PDF  (416 KB)


    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.

    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.


    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


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

    Related Search

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