Shifts in Aboveground and Forest Floor Carbon and Nitrogen Pools After Felling and Burning in the Southern Appalachians
Changes in aboveground and forest floor mass, carbon (C), and nitrogen (N) pools were quantified on three sites in the southern Appalachians 2 yr after felling and burning. Before felling and burning, stands were characterized by sparse overstories and dense Kalmia latifolia L. understories. Two years after burning, foliar C and N pools had reached 25% and 29% of pretreatment levels, respectively. Foliar N concentrations were not different from pretreatment values. Standing wood C and N pools were 1% and 2%, respectively, of pretreatment values. Wood N concentrations were significantly higher on two sites, likely related to differences in fire intensity. Forest floor N content 2 yr after burning was 90% of pretreatment levels, most contained in unconsumed large woody material. Forest floor mass was significantly lower in the Oi layer and unchanged in the Oe + Oa layers. Forest floor N concentrations were generally lower after treatment. The site with the least intense fire and the lowest mass loss from the forest floor had the highest forest floor, foliage, and wood N concentrations 2 yr after burning. Site recovery after felling and burning was a function of fire severity and the capacity for site-nutrient retention through plant uptake. FOR. SCI. 42(4):431-441.