The Impact of Management Practices on Soil Fertility and Foliar Nutrient Concentrations in a Spruce (Picea abies Link) Forest Ecosystem of Rodopi Mountainous Area, in Northern Greece
After forest harvesting, organic matter accumulation and soil nutrient availability are usually negatively influenced, especially during the first years. The hypothesis that 15 years after selective harvesting (15Y) the increased forest biomass, together with the enhanced nutrient recycling rates, compared to 5-years after harvesting (5Y), could restore nutrient availability and organic C accumulation (both in forest floor and soil) to similar levels to the intact site, was tested. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the timing of management practices (intact forest-control, 5Y, 15Y) on organic matter content, nutrient concentrations in needles, forest floor and soil, in a forest ecosystem of Picea abies L., in Rodopi mountainous area, in northern Greece. Significant differences between the intact site and the other two treatments were found in: i) soil N, P, C/N and exchangeable Ca, ii) organic matter and nutrient accumulation (basically in the upper 30 cm), iii) foliar K, Fe and Zn concentrations. In conclusion: i) forest management practices clearly influenced soil fertility and organic matter accumulation, ii) 15 years after selective harvesting nutrient and organic C accumulation in forest floor, as well as K and Fe accumulation in soil were restored to similar levels to the intact sites; thus, our hypothesis was partially correct.
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