Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A computer simulation tool that predicts the influence of forest clearings on soil fertility

08.09.2004


The process of clearing consists of cutting down trees in such a way that those remaining have more resources and can grow more. The question was if too many had been cut down, with the concomitant removal of nutrients, and the manner, therefore, in which this process might affect long-term soil fertility.



A PhD thesis presented in the Public University of Navarre specifically analysed the internal cycle of nutrients in two wooded areas in Pinus sylvestris forests, this species, together with the beech, being the most common tree in the Navarre mountains, especially in the Pyrenees. The areas chosen were in Aspurz and Garde, locations situated at different altitudes.

In the first stage, the above-ground biomass of the wood was measured before and after the clearing is carried out, i.e. we analysed the amount of wood, leaves and bark and each one of the nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorous) that existed in the wood. Then the biomass of the dry leaves, branches, etc. of the trees in question fallen onto the floor is measured in order to assess what nutrients returned naturally from the trees to the soil and which, therefore, would be natural fertiliser. The results concluded that the clearings reduced both the above-ground biomass as well as the mineral mass, although no differences in this drop were registered between different intensities of clearings.


In the second study, we start calculating the removal of nutrients from green leaves before they dry out, given that trees have a mechanism to reduce this nutrient loss and increase efficiency in their use. These parameters were not observed to have been influenced by the clearings.

The third experiment consisted of analysing the loss of weight and the chemical composition of the dead leaves. We analysed how this layer of fallen leaves deteriorated, how it breaks up and reconstitutes itself on the ground. In this way we could observe that both woods underwent a slowing down of this process after the clearings took place.

The fourth trial studied the respiration of the soil and its chemical composition and, in this way, the cycle is closed in which the tree first gathers the nutrients to be used to generate biomass, part of this biomass falls, degrades and, once more, reconstitutes itself in the soil to be reused by the tree. We found that respiration was greater in the location at higher temperatures and only in this wood was there detected a passing increase in respiration after the clearings had taken place. Neither did the clearings affect the chemical composition of the soil.

Subsequent to these studies, in the last stage of the thesis, we evaluated the changes in the reserves of nutrients. To this end, we created a computer tool that is a simulation model of the circulation of nutrients based on balances of masses. This has enabled us to predict what will happen to these trees in 60 years time.

A prediction that provides a number of possibilities in this process. It not only tells us that we should carry out clearings, but how often they should be carried out, how many trees should be cut down and whether the whole tree should be cut down or just the trunk or whether the branches and leaves should be left.

Acceptable limit

In any case, it can be affirmed that the management of forest clearings currently comes close to the acceptable limit, although we have to have more data to assess if the mountain is losing fertility. But, in order not to reduce the reserves of nutrients of a forest, the same form of clearings should not be applied to different zones without a prior evaluation of the consequences in each particular case, given that the effect of the clearings on internal cycle of nutrients largely depends on the features of each wooded area.

Garazi Andonegi | alfa
Further information:
http://www.basqueresearch.com
http://www.elhuyar.com

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht How much drought can a forest take?
20.01.2017 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>