Hardwood Biomass Impacts/Opportunities 130-902

Project Description: Forest management as a form of disturbance has been observed to alter many aspects of forest structure, dynamics and function. Most notably it has been observed to: 1) truncate the age and size distribution of residual trees resulting in fewer large, old trees; 2) reduce the abundance of woody debris; 3) homogenize the growing environment and reduce tree species diversity; and 4) alter soil water and nutrient availability. By changing the harvest intensity and promoting an increased utilization of biomass, which would typically have been left on the forest floor after harvest, there is the potential to further alter forest structures and their associated ecosystem functions. If we are to enter into this new paradigm of forest management where we are using increasing amounts of forest biomass, potentially reducing nutrient availability, altering the carbon cycle and removing structural elements, then we will need to know how forest biodiversity and ecosystem function are affected in both the short and long term. More importantly we need to be able to identify sites that may be more resilient / resistant to increased forest activities and sites that may be vulnerable to long term negative change.  These negative changes may include things like nutrient (Carbon, Nitrogen and Phosphorus) depletion, reductions in tree species diversity and the removal of key habitat features for wildlife.

The overall objective of this proposal is to evaluate the effects of biomass harvesting in partial harvest systems on stand-level productivity and biodiversity. This research will provide sound and defensible scientific support for policy and guideline development towards best management practices for biomass harvesting in south and central Ontario.


Project Team: Trevor Jones, OFRI


Related Project: 130-901


Status Reports:

Status Report (2010-2011)


For Additional Information Contact:

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