Mass Loss and Nutrient Concentrations of Buried Wood as a Function of Organic Matter Removal, Soil Compaction, and Vegetation Control in a Regenerating Oak-Pine Forest.


Felix Ponder, Jr., John M Kabrick, Mary Beth Adams, Deborah S. Page- Dumroese, Martin F. Jurgensen

Research Soil Scientist (deceased) USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Colombia, MO Research Forester (JMK), USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, 202 Anheuser Busch Natural Resources Building, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211. Research Soil Scientist (MBA), USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, 180 Canfield street, Morgantown, WV 26505 Research Soil Scientist (DP-D), Rocky Mountain Research Station, 1221 South Main Street,Moscow, Idaho 83843 Professor, (MFJ)Michigan Technological University, Noblet Building 137, Houghton, MI 49931. MBA will be presenting author. Email at

Abstract – Mass loss and nutrient concentrations of northern red oak (Quercus rubra) and white oak (Q. alba) wood stakes were measured 30 months following their burial in the upper 10 cm of soil in a regenerating forest after harvesting and soil disturbance. Disturbance treatments were two levels of organic matter (OM) removal (only merchantable logs removed (OM0) or removal of all woody material plus forest floor (OM2)) with two levels of soil compaction (C) (not compacted (C0) and severely compacted (C2)). Treatments were arranged in a factorial design with each treatment plot split with and without vegetation control (VC). OM removal resulted in a mean mass loss of stakes that was nearly 20% greater than that of white oak stakes at the end of 30 months. Nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) in the northern red oak stakes increased while potassium (K) and S increased in the white oak stakes. Overall, the impacts of of OM removal, C, and VC treatments were minor in the top 10 cm of the mineral soil suggesting that they did not affect woody debris decomposition or nutrient release in low-fertility oak and oak-pine ecosystems in this region.