Influences of harvesting on functions of floodplain forests associated with low-order, blackwater streams
The influence of both aerial and ground-based harvesting on functions of forested floodplains of low-order streams was studied during a two-year period. The study sites were associated with low-order, blackwater streams with infertile and primarily organic soils. Responses to harvesting were assessed in relation to water quality, denitrification, hydrology, regeneration, and decomposition. Water quality indices included nitrate, phosphate, total and dissolved solids, and biological oxygen demand (BOD). All were unaffected by harvesting with the exception of BOD which rose once to undesirable levels. Denitrification was'highly variable and also showed no significant harvest effect. Hydrologic parameters included groundwater table depths which, unexpectedly, indicated lowered water tables within harvested areas during the first growing season. Early regeneration responses were strongly linked to harvest system with primarily seed-origin species favored by ground-based activity whereas sprout-origin species dominated on aerial system plots. Owing to inherent soil wetness, decomposition responded slowly to harvest disturbance. However, after one year, decomposition was more rapid on harvested plots than in undisturbed areas.