Impact of prescribed management treatments on selected soil properties in a disturbed forest ecosystem of Northern Alabama.
Maria Nobles, Wallace Dillon, and Monday Mbila. Alabama A&M University, 4900 Meridian Street, Normal, AL 35762
Forest management practices such as prescribed burning and partial thinning are commonly used to achieve undergrowth control in forest ecosystems. Prescribed treatments influence the physical, chemical and mineralogical properties of soil. The study was conducted in order to monitor changes in soil properties due to forest ecosystem disturbance in southeastern mixed pine-hardwood forests. Three burning and three thinning patterns were applied to the forest plots in a Completely Randomized Block Design. Soil and forest floor samples from the treatment plots were collected for routine analyses as well as C and N stock determination. Changes in carbon density, nitrogen pools and other physical and chemical properties in forest ecosystems were identified, and the impact of burning and thinning on these properties were accessed. Mineralogical composition of soils following the prescribed burning treatment was also identified and compared to the pre-burn mineralogical properties.