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EFFECTS OF FOREST MANAGEMENT ON SOIL CARBON STORAGE

Dale W. J o h n s o n Desert R e s e a r c h Institute P.O. Box 60220 Reno, NV 89506 USA and D e p a r t m e n t of Range, Wildlife, a n d Forestry College of Agriculture University of Nevada, Reno Reno, NV 89512 USA ABSTRACT. The literature on soil C c h a n g e with forest harvesting, cultivation, site preparation, burning, fertilization, N fixation, a n d species c h a n g e is reviewed. No general t r e n d toward lower soil C with forest harvesting was apparent, u n l e s s harvesting is followed by i n t e n s e b u r n i n g or cultivation. Most studies show no significant c h a n g e (_+_ 10%) with harvesting only, a few studies show large net losses, a n d a few s t u d i e s show a net gain following harvesting. Cultivation, on the o t h e r h a n d , results in a large (up to 50%) loss in soil C in m o s t (but not all) cases. Low-intensity rescribed fire u s u a l l y results in little c h a n g e in soil C, b u t intense presribed fire or wildfire c a n result in a large loss of soil C. Species change can have either no effect or large effects on soil C, d e p e n d i n g primarily u p o n rooting p a t t e r n s . Fertilization a n d (especially) nitrogen fixation c a u s e i n c r e a s e s in soil C in the majority of cases, a n d r e p r e s e n t a n o p p o r t u n i t y for s e q u e s t e r i n g soil C a n d c a u s i n g long-term i m p r o v e m e n t s in site fertility.
1. Introduction

Forest soil scientists have,until very recently, paid little a t t e n t i o n to soil C relative to other nutrients, even t h o u g h the role of soil organic m a t t e r in soil fertility (cation e x c h a n g e capacity, s t r u c t u r e , b u l k density, N, P, S, and w a t e r status) is well recognized ( J u r g e n s e n et al 1989). Evaluations of the effects of harvesting, burning, a n d site p r e p a r a t i o n on forest productivity have c o n c e n t r a t e d u p o n n u t r i e n t losses a n d gains with m u c h less attention given to soil organic m a t t e r (e.g., Marion, 1979; Boyle et al 1973; J o h n s o n et al 1982, 1988b).
Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 64: 83-120, 1992. 0 1992 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

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DALE W. JOHNSON

With the r e c e n t c o n c e r n s over i n c r e a s e s in a t m o s p h e r i c C02 levels a n d global warming, forest soil scientists have an additional r e a s o n to c o n s i d e r c h a n g e s in soil C as affected b y m a n a g e m e n t practices. Even a c u r s o r y review of p u b l i s h e d global C b u d g e t s reveals t h a t soils could be either a major s o u r c e or sink for C. For example, the global C b u d g e t in Figure 1 indicates t h a t net a n n u a l release of C as C02 from fossil fuel c o m b u s t i o n is 5.3 x 1015 g yr-1, w h e r e a s detrital i n p u t s to the soil are e s t i m a t e d at a b o u t 60 x 1015 g yr -1 and d e c o m p o s i t i o n at 50 to 60 x 1015 g yr -1 (Harrington, 1977; Post et al 1990). Clearly, a slight i m b a l a n c e (10%) b e t w e e n detrital p r o d u c t i o n a n d d e c o m p o s i t i o n could either equal (if negative) or offset (if positive) the fossil fuel contribution. There is no a priori r e a s o n to s u s p e c t t h a t litter and soil organic m a t t e r are in a s t e a d y - s t a t e condition or even within 10% of s u c h a condition at p r e s e n t , especially in view of the large c h a n g e s in land u s e p a t t e r n s t h a t c o n t i n u e to o c c u r at a global scale. A r e c e n t a n a l y s i s b y T a n s et al (1990) s u g g e s t s t h a t the terrestrial e c o s y s t e m s of the Northern H e m i s p h e r e are a b s o r b i n g 2 to 3.4 x 1015 g yr-1 of C. This a m o u n t of C is not otherwise a c c o u n t e d for, and could easily be s e q u e s t e r e d within either vegetation or soils. Thus, it is i m p o r t a n t to gain a better u n d e r s t a n d i n g as to w h e t h e r soils are a net s o u r c e or a n e t s i n k of C, and, if possible m a k e s o m e e s t i m a t e as to the m a g n i t u d e of the i m b a l a n c e b e t w e e n i n p u t s a n d o u t p u t s of C to the soil. While calculations of the latter have b e e n m a d e (e.g., Mann, 1986; Schlesinger 1990), little is k n o w n a b o u t the error b o u n d s s u r r o u n d i n g s u c h estimates; u n c e r t a i n t i e s m a y well be so large as to m a k e even the overall direction of change questionable. There have b e e n several p a p e r s suggesting t h a t a b o v e g r o u n d b i o m a s s in forest e c o s y s t e m s h a s b e e n either a significant s i n k (Delcourt a n d Harris, 1980) or s o u r c e (Houghton et al 1983; H a r m o n et al 1990) of C. M u c h less information is available on c h a n g e s in C c o n t e n t of forest soils, and the existing literature is contradictory. D e l c o u r t a n d Harris (1980) a s s u m e d t h a t clearing and cultivation c a u s e d a 40% r e d u c t i o n in soil C in the s o u t h e a s t e r n U.S. In their global C model, H o u g h t o n et al (1983) a s s u m e 35, 50, a n d 15% losses of litter a n d soil C after forest clearing in tropical, temperate, a n d boreal forests, respectively, and a f u r t h e r delayed loss to 50% of original C c o n t e n t with cultivation. In a later p a p e r on the C b a l a n c e of Latin A m e r i c a n forests, H o u g h t o n et al (1991) a s s u m e d t h a t cultivation r e s u l t e d in a 25% loss of soil C, w h e r e a s "Logging w a s a s s u m e d n o t to c h a n g e the storage of organic c a r b o n in soil." (p. 183). B a s e d u p o n a review of the literature on tropical forest clearing, Detwiler (1986) c o n c l u d e d t h a t clearing and b u r n i n g alone do n o t c a u s e a loss of soil C, a n d in s o m e cases, m a y c a u s e a gain. He n o t e s t h a t while clearing followed b y cultivation or p a s t u r i n g c a u s e losses of soil C, "... the d e c r e a s e in soil c a r b o n is a r e s u l t of the soil's use, not its clearing" (p.

SOIL CARBON STORAGE

85

75). In the a b s e n c e of h a r d information on c h a n g e s in soil C following harvesting, H a r m o n et al (1990) a p p a r e n t l y took a conservative a p p r o a c h by a s s u m i n g no change; however, t h e y indicate t h a t this a s s u m p t i o n is likely false and that, "soil organic m a t t e r ... will m o s t likely d e c r e a s e u n d e r intensive m a n a g e m e n t " . S c h l e s i n g e r (1990) analyzed c h r o n o s e q u e n c e studies for soil C a c c u m u l a t i o n rate, a n d c o n c l u d e d that, on a worldwide basis, only approximately 0.4 x 1015 g C yr -1, or 2.4 g m-2yr -1 is stored. M u s s e l m a n a n d Fox (1991) quote e s t i m a t e s of 52.5 x 1015 g of C stored in U.S. forests, with 59% of this (31 x 1015 g) stored in the soil. After a c c o u n t i n g for long-term storage of h a r v e s t e d wood, t h e y estimate C lost to the a t m o s p h e r e from trees to be 6.7 x 1015 g of C. For soils, t h e y a s s u m e a 25 to 50% loss of C after harvest, w h i c h converts to 8 to 15 x 1015 g of soil C. The objective of this p a p e r is to review the literature on forest m a n a g e m e n t with special attention to effects on soil C. It was a s s u m e d that, in addition to those few papers w h i c h actually highlight soil C changes, a great deal of information on soil C c h a n g e with m a n a g e m e n t was contained within publications and reports t h a t focused on o t h e r n u t r i e n t s . With the a s s i s t a n c e of the International E n e r g y Agency's lEA T 6 / A 6 project ("Impacts of Forest Harvesting on Long-term Site Productivity", W.J. Dyck, Project Leader) letters were s e n t to foresters, soil scientists and ecologists t h r o u g h o u t the world asking for s u c h information. Over 100 reprints were received, m o s t of w h i c h are s u m m a r i z e d in this d o c u m e n t . The r e p r i n t s were divided into seven categories for the p u r p o s e of this report: 1) Harvesting, 2) Cultivation 3) Site Preparation, 4) Burning, 5) Species Conversion, 6) Reforestation and Succession, a n d 7) Fertilization (including N-fixation).
2. M e t h o d s a n d Materials

Several significant difficulties and u n c e r t a i n t i e s were e n c o u n t e r e d while trying to synthesize the literature on forest m a n a g e m e n t a n d soil C. The q u e s t i o n of how to report the d a t a arose immediately: the use of absolute values of soil C would tend to minimize the i m p o r t a n c e of c h a n g e s in soils with i n h e r e n t l y low C w h e r e a s the c h a n g e s in soils with large soil C would be emphasized. C h a n g e s in soils with low C m a y be of less i m p o r t a n c e to global C b u d g e t s t h a n c h a n g e s in soils with high C, b u t low C soils are of equal if not greater interest in t e r m s of c h a n g e s in site fertility. Converting the results to p e r c e n t a g e s r e s u l t s in the opposite effect, i.e., emphasizing the r e s u l t s in low C soils, p e r h a p s u n d u l y , in view of their significance to global C budgets. However, the a d v a n t a g e s of converting p e r c e n t a g e s were d e e m e d to outweigh the disadvantages; also, m u c h of the literature on global C

86

D LW.O N O AE J H S N

deals with c h a n g e s in soil C on a percentage basis (e.g., H o u g h t o n et al 1983; M a n n 1986; M u s s e l m a n a n d Fox 1991). One of the m o s t serious problems e n c o u n t e r e d in s u m m a r i z i n g the literature w a s the differences in s a m p l i n g protocols, b o t h in space a n d time. For example, how does one legitimately c o m p a r e p e r c e n t c h a n g e s in C in the top 2 to 5 cm of soil reported by some a u t h o r s (e.g., Ellis a n d Graley 1983) with p e r c e n t c h a n g e s in the top m e t e r of soil r e p o r t e d by o t h e r a u t h o r s (e.g., J o h n s o n et al 1991)? In order to try to s t a n d a r d i z e the d e p t h effect s o m e w h a t , the p e r c e n t a g e c h a n g e s for the entire soil profile s a m p l e d were calculated w h e n not reported.

/ / Fossil
Fuels

" Respiration ~ 40-60 ~ ~ ~

IAtmosphere 748 I (Annual Increase =3" 9) J Photosynthesis i00-120 IUncerta: Uncertainty in the net terrestrial balance +30 to -20? 100-115

/ / _ _ _

5.3/ /

~ s and Terrestrial Biota 500-800

J I

~6~ Dc16 e~7


Soil and

Detrit~/L____________ 100-115
Oceans

~
i000

Figure 1. The global C balance. Units are in 1015 g y-1. Adapted from H a r r i n g t o n 1987 a n d Post et al 1991. Where available, d a t a on bulk density a n d p e r c e n t gravel were u s e d for t h e s e calculations, b u t if these d a t a were not available, a total profile soil C c o n c e n t r a t i o n value was calculated by d e p t h weighting, i.e., total profile C = E(%C x d e p t h ) / Ydepth. This p r o c e d u r e biases the values toward surface horizons, w h i c h generally have lower b u l k densities

SOIL CARBON STORAGE

87

a n d would therefore be given a lower weighting if b u l k d e n s i t y d a t a were available for the calculations. Additional s o u r c e s of bias a n d error i n c l u d e differences in total soil s a m p l i n g d e p t h a n d u n r e c o r d e d c h a n g e s in b u l k d e n s i t y (Detwiler 1986). The i n t e n s i t y of sampling varied considerably a m o n g t h e s e studies; the intensity of sampling in the H u b b a r d Brook studies r e p o r t e d b y J o h n s o n et al (1991) was sufficient to detect statistical significance in a m e r e 8% c h a n g e in soil C, w h e r e a s in o t h e r cases, differences of 20 to 50% were not statistically significant (e.g., E d m o n d s a n d McColl 1989; Mattson a n d S w a n k 1989). All c h a n g e s t h a t could be calculated are reported here, along with statistical significance or lack of it, in a n a t t e m p t to detect overall p a t t e r n s across sites. The alternative - to a s s u m e t h a t no c h a n g e s in soil C o c c u r r e d - w a s d e e m e d to be potentially more misleading t h a n reporting a c t u a l changes, in t h a t differences w h i c h were significant at a n y level up to 89% (or more, d e p e n d i n g u p o n the level of significance selected) would be ignored. While the a b s e n c e of statistical a n a l y s e s n o r m a l l y negates the value of a n y particular study, it was r e a s o n e d t h a t a collection of d a t a points showing a n overall t r e n d would provide useful information, even t h o u g h each d a t a point in itself m a y not be particularly significant. An appropriate statistical analogy would be a regression equation, w h e r e no statistics are normally available for e a c h point, b u t the collection of several points m a y show a m e a n i n g f u l trend. Finally, m a n y c o m p a r i s o n s are c o n f o u n d e d b y temporal differences. Sampling intervals varied from as s h o r t as 1 mo to as long as 83 y r after t r e a t m e n t , a n d several of the long-term a n d c h r o n o s e q u e n c e s t u d i e s indicated significant temporal t r e n d s in soil C (e.g., J e n k i n s o n 1970; Durgin 1980; Gholz and Fisher 1982). At this stage, no a t t e m p t h a s b e e n m a d e to stratify the results temporally, given the p a u c i t y of data, b u t potential and d o c u m e n t e d temporal variations add a significant caveat to the following s u m m a r i e s .
3. R e s u l t s and D i s c u s s i o n

3.1 HARVESTING Several s t u d i e s reported soil C c h a n g e s with harvesting, either alone or in c o m b i n a t i o n with other t r e a t m e n t s . For our p u r p o s e s here, h a r v e s t i n g alone will be considered s e p a r a t e l y from h a r v e s t i n g with other t r e a t m e n t s in order to avoid confusion as to w h a t the actual effects of h a r v e s t i n g v e r s u s other t r e a t m e n t s are. This is a n especially i m p o r t a n t consideration w h e n harvesting is followed by cultivation, as will be s h o w n later.

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The r e s u l t s of t h i r t e e n studies w h i c h c o n s i d e r e d h a r v e s t i n g alone are s u m m a r i z e d in Table 1. As one would expect, h a r v e s t i n g alone h a d a significant effect u p o n forest floor mass, c a u s i n g either i n c r e a s e s or decreases, d e p e n d i n g u p o n how m u c h s l a s h was left behind. The effects of h a r v e s t i n g on mineral soil C varied from site to site, with r e p o r t s of increases, decreases, or no effects. However, the majority of the s t u d i e s r e p o r t e d either no effects or very small c h a n g e s (<10%; Table 1). The two exceptions o c c u r r e d in the studies of a tropical rain forest in G h a n a ( C u n n i n g h a m 1963) a n d those in a E u c a l y p t forest in T a s m a n i a (Ellis and Graley 1983). C u n n i n g h a m reported soil C r e d u c t i o n s t h a t related to the degree of s h a d i n g and, p r e s u m a b l y , soil t e m p e r a t u r e , after harvesting a tropical rain forest in Ghana. Three y r after harvesting, he noted 57, 49, and 25% d e c r e a s e s in soil C in the 0 to 5 c m d e p t h with full exposure, half-exposure, a n d full shading, respectively. The s a m e basic p a t t e r n held in the 5 to 15 c m depth, also (30, 25, a n d 17% d e c r e a s e s in full exposure, half-exposure, a n d full shading, respectively). Ellis a n d Graley (1983) report d a t a indicating a statistically significant (i.e., n o n overlapping 95% confidence intervals) 23% difference in 0 to 2 cm layer soil C b e t w e e n h a r v e s t e d a n d u n h a r v e s t e d E u c a l y p t u s sites in Tasmania. However, no significant differences were n o t e d in deeper horizons, a n d the a u t h o r s did not regard the s u r f a c e soil differences to be of a n y real c o n s e q u e n c e . Thus, the overall effects of harvesting on soil C in this case, also, were actually quite small. 3.2 CULTIVATION M a n n (1985, 1986), Detwiler (1986), a n d S c h l e s i n g e r (1986) have provided excellent reviews of the effects of cultivation on soil C. In one of h e r two papers, M a n n (1985) utilized d a t a from 303 loess-derived soil profiles, mostly Alfisols and Mollisols, in the central U.S., a n d in a n o t h e r p a p e r (Mann 1986) she reviewed the r e s u l t s of 50 s t u d i e s in the l i t e r a t u r e involving c o m p a r i s o n s of 625 profiles. These c o m p a r i s o n s involved b o t h forested and prairie ecosystems, a n d r e s u l t s were not s e p a r a t e d b y these two categories. In both cases, she n o t e d t h a t cultivation resulted in a s u b s t a n t i a l n e t loss (at least 20%, m o s t l y in the plough layer) in soils t h a t were initially relatively high in C, b u t a slight net gain (e.g., 11% in Udolls of the central U.S.) in soils t h a t were initially low in C. Using a c o m p u t e r model of land u s e c h a n g e s in t h e tropics, Detwiler (1986) e s t i m a t e d t h a t clearing followed by cultivation results in a n average 40% loss of soil C, a n d clearing followed by p a s t u r i n g results in an average 20% loss of soil C, e a c h within 5 yr. Schlesinger s u m m a r i z e d the effects of clearing a n d cultivation on soil C from several studies in the literature, and obtained a n average loss of 21%, with a range of +1 to -69%. Table 2 s u m m a r i z e s the reviews by M a n n (1985, 1986), Detwiler (1986), a n d Schlesinger (1986), as well as several other s t u d i e s t h a t

T a b l e 1. E f f e c t s o f h a r v e s t i n g

o n s o i l C.

Location and J o h n s o n et al 1991

species

Treatments

Results
At 3 yr, 16 to19% loss i n LOI in 0 horizons, 8% loss i n E horizon, n o change in B. There was a loss in Oi mass, b u t only 1% change (increase) in total profile organic m a t t e r . Soil C was 8% lower i n s e c o n d a r y forest Reich 1983

Reference

H u b b a r d Brook, NH (Northern hardwoods)

Whole -tree harvesting

La Selva, Costa Rica (tropical r a i n forest)

Mature forest vs s e c o n d a r y forest cut 1, 6, a n d 17 yr previously

Frazer et al 1990

r~
> o z

Challenge Forest, CA (Mixed conifer)

Chronosequence 100 yr-old, clearcut 6 a n d 18 yr ago 1% greater OM in clearcut

6-yr-old site had 23 a n d 35% more total C t h a n 100-yr-old in 0-70 a n d 70-140 cm, resp., 18-yr-old had 12% less in 0-70 cm, no difference deeper. (No statistics.)

Klamath Mts. OR (Pseudotsuga menziesii)

Clearcut 20 years previously

Aztet et al 1989 C u n n i n g h a m 1963

9 cl

Ghana (Tropical r a i n forest)

Clearcut, i n c l u d i n g different degrees of artificial s h a d i n g

After 3 yr, 57 a n d 30% decrease in 0-5 a n d 5-15 cm (resp.) in full exposure, 49 a n d 25% in half-exposure, 25 a n d 17% in shade. N losses slightly less. 30% increase i n forest floor, 8% increase i n soft after three y e a r s (non-significant)

H u b b a r d Brook, NH (Northern hardwood)

Whole-tree h a r v e s t

Huntington and Ryan 1990 (same study as J o h n s o n et al 1991) H e n d r i c k s o n et al 1989

Petawawa, O n t a r i o (Mixed c o n f e r , hardwood)

Whole-tree (WTH) vs conventional harvest (CH)

Increase in both forest floor (20%) a n d top 20 c m of soil (18%) with CH; n o significant change in forest floor (-2%), b u t i n c r e a s e i n top 20 cm of soil (14~ with WTH

Coweeta, NC (Mixed deciduous)

Whole-tree (WTH) vs 20% greater C in BO soft, 74% greater C in WTH soil, b u t m a y be due to natural, prebole only (BO) treatment variation 40-70% loss in forest floor. No soft data, b u t soil N c h a n g e s from +50% to -60%. No s t a t i s t i c s 1-2 % i n c r e a s e s (non-significant) Mroz et al 1985

Mattson and Swank 1989

Michigan (Northern hardwood)

Whole-tree harvest on sites of v a r y i n g quality

Minnesota IPopulus tremul0ides) 20% loss in surface 10 cm; not considered significant to site p r o d u c t i v i t y

Stem-only and whole-tree harvesting

A l b a n a n d Perla 1990

Tasmania (Mixed E u c a l y p t u s , rainforest)

Clearcut

Ellis a n d Graley 1983 F* Fa E d m o n d s a n d McColl 1982, 1989

Australia IPinus radiata)

C o m p a r i s o n of 4 - m o C o m p a r e d to 45-yr-old, 4 - m o - o l d site h a d 22% g r e a t e r soil OM; 5-yr-old 5 yr-old, a n d 45site h a d 20% greater soil OM (not yr-old c l e a r c u t s t a s t i c a l l y significant) At w e l l - d r a i n e d site, average c h a n g e of -3% (not significant); at p o o r l y - d r a i n e d site, average c h a n g e o f - 3 9 % (significant in one of 4 h o r i z o n s only)

Maine (Mixed hardwood, conifer)

Biomass harvest

F e r n a n d e z et al; 1989

T a b l e 2. E f f e c t s o f c u l t i v a t i o n o n s o i l C. Results M a n n 1985 Reference

Location

Treatments

303 sites i n central US 20% decreases in 20 yr in sites initially in C, slight gain in low C sites Average of 21% loss of soil C, range of +1 to -69%. M a n n 1986 Schlesinger 1986

C u l t i v a t i o n of either 28% overall decease i n Udalfs, 11% increase prairie or m a t u r e i n Udolls forest

625 sites worldwide

Cultivation

Clearing a n d Cultivation

USA, Central a n d S o u t h America, Africa, India, Thailand, New Guinea

o Detwfler 1986

[-

> o

General Tropical Forests

Average loss of 40% soil C with cultivation, Clearing followed 20% with pasturing. No c h a n g e with logging. b y c u l t i v a t i o n or p a s t u r i n g (estimated from model) In most cases, cropping caused decreases in soil C (10 to 50%); increases (10-40%) w h e n crop residues r e t u r n e d to soil 20% soil C decrease i n 35 yr, mostly in first 15 yr.; C:N ratio n a r r o w e d from 15:1 to 12:1 C h a n g e s after 1 yr difficult to d e t e r m i n e b e c a u s e of variability (>50%)

Nigeria (20 sites)

Clearing a n d cultivation

A y a n a b a et al 1976

9 > c~

British C o l u m b i a W a s h i n g t o n (60 sites)

Clearing a n d cultivation

Goldin a n d Lavkulich 1990

Brazil

Clearing a n d cultivation

Tiesson and Santos 1989 Richter et al 1990

North C a r o l i n a

Tillage; r e p l a c e m e n t 24% reduction in total C, mostly (76%) of grasses by a n n u a l due to reduction in roots. herbs

Indonesia 13-yr-old pine p l a n t a t i o n w a s - 15% lower, g r a s s l a n d s were - 2 0 % higher t h a n n a t u r a l forest. 2 ~ forest the same as n a t u r a l forest. A r i m ~ s u 1983 0-50% decrease, m o s t i n high C soils. 50% greater loss in old softs i n tropics t h a n i n temperate or y o u n g tropical soils Allen 1985 No change with slash a n d b u r n , approx. 20% reduction with bulldozing at 3 mo. Bedding a n d fertilization resulted i n approx. 15% i n c r e a s e

Shifting cult., conversion to 2 ~ forest, pine plantation and grassland

U.S.A. a n d tropics

Forest clearing, cropping

Peru

Slash a n d b u r n , bulldozer clearing with straight a n d shear blade t h e n cropped with a n d w i t h o u t fertilizer A p p a r e n t 20-25% loss of soil C d u r i n g first 1-2 y e a r s followed by increase to forest levels after 8 y e a r s as grass roots incorporate into humus. No clear pattern; rapid loss d u r i n g first year, t h e n gain during 2-6 years, t h e n loss again after 12 years. Spatial variability m a y c o n f u s e results. 10-20% loss of soil C; also m o b i l i z a t i o n of fulvic acids a n d a t t e n d a n t d e g r a d a t i o n of soil s t r u c t u r e a n d permeability. Soil C was 13 to 30% higher after clearing a n d b u r n i n g i n experimental t r e a t m e n t s b u t n o t in "local practice". After 2 yr, soil C declined b y 6% with "local practice" a n d 20 to 35% in other treatments

Alegre a n d Cassel 1986

Brazil

Pasturing (Chronosequence)

Cerri et al 1991

Brazil

Pasturing (Chronosequence)

Eden et al 1991

Brazil

Cultivation

Martins et al 1991

Ghana

Clearing, b u r n i n g different types of cultivation i n c l u d i n g "local practice"

Nye a n d G r e e n l a n d 1964

SOIL CARBON STORAGE

93

were n o t i n c l u d e d in t h e s e reviews. The additional p a p e r s generally confirm earlier conclusions as to the effects of cultivation: soil C c h a n g e s r a n g e d from a slight gain to over 50% loss. One s t u d y w o r t h y of p a r t i c u l a r m e n t i o n is t h a t of Richter et al (1990) who point out the i m p o r t a n c e of a c c o u n t i n g for root b i o m a s s w h e n evaluating soil C change. T h e y f o u n d a 24% overall d e c r e a s e in soil after 7 y r of a n n u a l tillage of a Udalf in Michigan, and t h a t 76% of this d e c r e a s e was d u e to a r e d u c t i o n in root biomass associated with a transition from grasses to a n n u a l herbs. 3.3 SITE PREPARATION The effects of site p r e p a r a t i o n prior to e s t a b l i s h m e n t of a n e w forest p l a n t a t i o n on soil C c a n be quite considerable, as seen in Table 3. However, the implications for global C b u d g e t s are often unclear, in t h a t it is frequently not possible to s e p a r a t e soil C lost by d i s p l a c e m e n t (e.g., bulldozed into slash piles and therefore not n e c e s s a r i l y lost to t h e a t m o s p h e r e as CO2) and t h a t w h i c h is lost due to decompositon. In general, t h e r e is a net loss of soil C with site preparation, the m a g n i t u d e of w h i c h is d e p e n d e n t u p o n the severity of the d i s t u r b a n c e . In t h a t site p r e p a r a t i o n occurs only once d u r i n g a forest rotation, one would expect t h a t its overall effects on soil C loss would be less t h a n t h a t of c o n t i n u o u s cultivation, however. In cases w h e r e site p r e p a r a t i o n involved incorporating logging r e s i d u e s into the soil, soil C values can obviously be expected to increase (e.g., S m e t h u r s t a n d Nambiar, 1990a). Thus, the effects of site p r e p a r a t i o n on soil C varied not only with site b u t with t r e a t m e n t . For instance, Morris a n d Pritchett (1983) found t h a t only slight c h a n g e s in m i n e r a l soil C due to site p r e p a r a t i o n (chopping, burning, KG-blade, disking, a n d bedding) in one Florida slash pine site, w h e r e a s Burger a n d Pritchett (1984) f o u n d significant (20-40%) r e d u c t i o n s in soil C following site p r e p a r a t i o n (burning followed by chopping a n d b u r n i n g followed by windrowing, disking, a n d bedding) in a n o t h e r Florida s l a s h pine site (Table 3). Finally, in a more u n u s u a l study, Laine and V a s a n d e r (1991) evaluated the effects of drainage and forest e s t a b l i s h m e n t u p o n the C b a l a n c e of a peat bog in Finland. They found an overall e c o s y s t e m C i n c r e a s e of 9% due to increases in tree, litter, a n d p e a t C. T h e y c o n c l u d e d t h a t the effects of the i n c r e a s e d productivity d u e to forest e s t a b l i s h m e n t more t h a n c o m p e n s a t e d for a n y loss of peat C d u e to i n c r e a s e d d e c o m p o s i t i o n rate. 3.4 BURNING The literature on b u r n i n g included both p r e s c r i b e d b u r n i n g and wildfire. The effects of b u r n i n g u p o n both forest floor a n d soil C were very d e p e n d e n t u p o n fire intensity, as is to be expected. Prescribed

Table 3. Effects of forest site p r e p a r a t i o n on soil C.


Results
F e r n a n d e z et a; 1989

Location a n d species

Treatments

Reference

Golden Triangle, ME (Mixed hardwood)

Chopped (CH), raked (RK) windrow b u r n e d

5VB)

Consistent decreases i n O horizons; i n c r e a s e s of 139, 38, a n d 69% with CH, RK, and WB in well-drained site, i n c r e a s e s of 39, 17, a n d 11% in poorly-drained site, C h a n g e s stastically significant i n only 3 of 14 horizons. 9% increase overall i n d r a i n e d l a n d due to increase in b u l k density, %C a n d trees. OM up to 50% lower with severe disturbance, due to displacement. Real losses n o t k n o w n At Cary, 27% increase with m i n i m a l d i s t u r b a n c e 20% decrease with i n t e n s i v e d i s t u r b a n c e . At Bradford, no c h a n g e with m i n i m a l d i s t u r b a n c e 15% decrease with i n t e n s i v e d i s t u r b a n c e D i s p l a c e m e n t of c o n s i d e r a b l e N, and, p r e s u m a b l y C, by soil removal (3-18 cm) d u r i n g root raking. No idea of actual total C lost to a t m o s p h e r e . No significant differences i n 0-5 cm, b u t 23 a n d 15% lower i n raked plots in 5-10 a n d 10-10-20 c m levels after 16 yr At 4 mo, 0-15 cm: relative to SL: L= -5%, LP= +53%, SLR = +8%. At 48 too, all t r e a t m e n t s decreased b y 1 4 - 2 5 % , a n d relative to SL: L = -7%, LP = +33%, SLR = +7%. No significant effects i n 15-30 c m depth.

Finland [Pinus svlvestris)

Peatland drainage

Laine a n d V a s a n d e r 1991

Mississippi (Pinus spp.)

Skidding vs skyline logging

Miller a n d Sirois 1986 Morris a n d Pritchett 1983

>
t~ Fn

Florida (P. eliottii)

B u r n i n g , low- a n d h i g h - i n t e n s i t y site prep. at 2 sites (Cary a n d Bradford)

8
z Sims et al 1988

New Z e a l a n d (Pinus radiata)

Harvesting, rootraking, b u r n i n g

New Z e a l a n d [..P. radiata)

Litter r a k i n g

Ballard a n d Will 1981 Smethurst and N a m b i a r 1990a

Australia (P. radiata)

Slash a n d litter intact (SL), s l a s h removed (L), litter ploughed (LP), a n d slash a n d litter removed (SLR)

Florida (P. eliottii)

Clearcut and b u r n , t h e n chop vs windrow a n d bed

At 2 yr, 54% lower C c o n c e n t r a t i o n with b u r n i n g a n d chopping, 68% lower C with windrow a n d bedding. C o n t e n t s (Mg/ha) were 21 a n d 40% lower, resp. Smethurst and N a m b i a r 1990b

Burger a n d Pritchett 1984

Australia (P. radiata)

Windrow a n d plough

C o n t i n u o u s m o n i t o r i n g of surface soil (unspecified depth) showed decrease of approx. 40% over 42 mo.

:>. oz '

o > o m

96

DALE W. JOHNSON

fire u s u a l l y c a u s e d a reduction in 0 horizon weight (Table 4), b u t either no c h a n g e or a n increase in mineral soil C. Often, the invasion of N-fixing species after b u r n i n g c a u s e d a n i n c r e a s e in soil C over the long-term. K r a e m e r a n d H e r m a n n (1979) f o u n d no significant differences in soil organic m a t t e r 25 yr after b r o a d c a s t b u r n i n g in 34 plot pairs in w e s t e r n Washington a n d Oregon. They did, however, find a significant increase in soil C in sites occupied by N-fixing C e a n o t h u s . Wells (1971) r e p o r t e d the results of a 20-yr s t u d y of prescribed b u r n i n g at the S a n t e e forest in S o u t h Carolina. T r e a t m e n t s included a n n u a l s u m m e r b u r n i n g (AS), a n n u a l winter b u r n i n g (AW), periodic (4 times) s u m m e r b u r n i n g (PS) a n d periodic winter b u r n i n g (PW). He f o u n d forest floor r e d u c t i o n s to be as follows: AS>AW>PS>PW. However, t h e r e was a t e n d e n c y for the forest floor to regain this organic m a t t e r over time a n d a p p r o a c h the control condition in the periodically-burned plots. He also found t h a t during the first 10 yr of the s t u d y organic m a t t e r and N increased in the top 5 cm of soil in a p p r o x i m a t e l y the s a m e order as forest floor was lost. Thus, "the principal effect of b u r n i n g was the redistribution of the organic m a t t e r in the profile a n d not in a n y reduction" (p. 88). One t r e a t m e n t ( a n n u a l l y - b u r n e d plots) showed especially large i n c r e a s e s in soil N (550 to 990 k g / h a ) during the second 10 yr of the study, w h i c h were a t t r i b u t e d to i n c r e a s e d activity of N-fixers. McKee (1982) s u m m a r i z e d the r e s u l t s of several p r e s c r i b e d b u r n i n g studies t h r o u g h o u t the s o u t h e a s t (including Wells' study) a n d c o n c l u d e d t h a t b u r n i n g generally r e s u l t e d in a d e c r e a s e in forest floor b u t a n i n c r e a s e in soil C in the top 5 to 10 cm within the first 10 yr, the r e s u l t being a small n e t overall s y s t e m C loss. The c a u s e s of the i n c r e a s e in s u r f a c e soil following prescribed b u r n i n g likely include incorporation of charcoal a n d partially b u r n e d organic m a t t e r into the m i n e r a l soil and, in some cases, the increase in the p r e s e n c e of Nfixing species following burning. In c o n t r a s t to t h e s e s t u d i e s of low-intensity prescribed burning, o t h e r s t u d i e s of the effects of h i g h - i n t e n s i t y b u r n i n g (either p r e s c r i b e d or wildfire) show significant soil C loss. S a n d s (1983) reported t h a t 24 yr after a n intense b r o a d c a s t b u r n in a Radiata pine site in Australia, soil C was approximately 40 to 50% lower t h r o u g h o u t t h e profile (to a 60 cm depth) t h a n in a n u n b u r n e d plot. Grier (1975) noted a 40% loss of litter a n d soil N after a n i n t e n s e fire on the e a s t e r n slope of the Cascade Mountains of Washington. Neither organic m a t t e r n o r C c h a n g e s were reported by Grier, b u t were p r e s u m a b l y quite high, also. Not all wildfires result in a r e d u c t i o n in soil C, however. F e r n a n d e z et al reported large losses of 0 horizon b u t no significant c h a n g e in m i n e r a l soil C 1 yr after a wildfire in Maine. D y r n e s s et al (1989) s a m p l e d soils within one week of a wildfire in interior Alaska a n d f o u n d t h a t organic m a t t e r losses from the forest floor (assessed by c o m p a r i n g to u n b u r n e d areas) varied from 5 to 80% d e p e n d i n g u p o n

T a b l e 4. Effects of b u r n i n g o n soil C.
Results No significant difference b e t w e e n RB40 a n d C; CF2 was 25-43% lower t h a n C O'Connell 1987 Reference

Location and Species

Treatments

Australia (EucalvDtus)

Clearcut a n d b u r n (CF2); regular fire over 4 0 yrs (RB40); a n d control Approximately 50% loss in top 10 cm with h a r v e s t i n g a n d b u r n i n g , mostly i n top 2 cm. Overall effect of b u r n i n g s e e n as beneficial

(c)
Ellis a n d Graley 1983

Tasmania (Mixed Eucalyptus, r a i n forest)

Broadcast b u r n i n g

Australia (Eucalyptus) R e d u c t i o n in O horizons; n o effect i n m i n e r a l soil 40-50 % reduction to 60 cm depth 40% loss of forest floor a n d soil N (No C data given)

Prescribed fire once No differences in sites newly b u r n e d or b u r n e d 3- or 19 yr previously only, 1 m o n t h 3 yr, a n d 19 yr previously

E d m o n d s a n d McColl 1982
>.

S o u t h Carolina (P. plaustris)

Prescribed, 1,2,3, a n d 4-yr intervals

Binkley et a l i n p r e s s

Australia (P,. radiata)

Intense broadcast burning

S a n d s 1982 Grier 1975 D y r n e s s et al 1989

0 Z o,3 ,,-.] 0 >. 0

Washington (Mixed conifers}

Wildfire

Alaska (Picea glauca, Picea m a r i a n a , Betula papyrffera, P o p u l u s tremuloides}

Wildfires of varying Loss of forest floor increased with intensity; losses (up to 15%) gains, intensity (up to 15%), or no change in m i n e r a l soft, d e p e n d i n g u p o n i n t e n s i t y a n d forest type.

Maine (Mixed hardwoods, conifers)

Wildfire

Large r e d u c t i o n i n 0 horizon, no effects i n m i n e r a l soil one year after fire.

F e r n a n d e z et al 1989

Santee, SC (Pinus taeda)

20-yr r e s u l t s of annual and periodic (7 yr) burns Little effect of periodic b u r n s o n either O or m i n e r a l soil. A n n u a l b u r n i n g decreased O a n d increased surface m i n e r a l soil C (30%} B u r n e d plots 26% higer i n OM in n o r t h Cascades, 2% lower i n s o u t h Cascades (Not stastically significant). I n c r e a s e d with C e a n o t h u s noted Kraemer and H e r m a n n 1979 Slight decrease (20-30%) at 9 mos, b u t increase again (40-70%) at 21 m o s After 5 fires, b u r n e d = 4% greater t h a n control (not significant) At 20 years, PW = 17% greater (significant at 95%) AW = 16% greater (not significantl t h a n control Macadam1987 Wells 1971

Oregon and Washington (Conifers}

Broadcast b u r n i n g (Morris plots}

British C o l u m b i a (P. contorta, Picea glauca x engelmannii)

Broadcast b u r n i n g

Brewerton, AL (Pinus palustris)

Biennial winter prescribed fire

McKee 1982 McKee 1982

Olustee, FL (Pinus elliottii)

Periodic (4-yr} winter (PW), annnual winter lAW} prescribed fire

Fa

Roberts, LA (pinus palustris)

Annual winter prescribed fire

After 65 years, b u r n e d was 7% greater t h a n control overall, b u t lower in surface 5 cm (not significant} PW = -16%, PS = +6%, AW = +11%, AS = +28% relative to control at 30 yr. Only AS w a s significant, a n d only at 3 0 - 5 0 c m depths

McKee 1982

Santee, SC (Pinus taeda)

Annual winter {AW), a n n u a l s u m m e r (AS) periodic (7 yr) winter (PW) a n d periodic s u m m e r (PS) prescribed fire. (Same site as \Veils 1971}

McKee 1982

SOIL CARBON STORAGE

99

fire intensity. C h a n g e s in the top 5 c m of mineral soil r a n g e d from +16 to -18% d e p e n d i n g u p o n fire intensity. 3.5 SPECIES CHANGE OR COMPARISONS M a n y of the studies dealing with species c h a n g e s or c o m p a r i s o n s involved N-fixers. These r e s u l t s have b e e n l u m p e d t o g e t h e r with fertilization for the p u r p o s e s of this review a n d are d i s c u s s e d below. Species c h a n g e studies involving non-N fixers are s u m m a r i z e d in Table 5. The effects of tree species on soil C was often significant b u t i n c o n s i s t e n t . For instance, T u r n e r and Kelly (1985) a n d T u r n e r a n d L a m b e r t (1988) c o m p a r e d soil properties b e n e a t h p l a n t e d r a d i a t a pine (Pinus radiata) and native E u c a l y p t u s forest at various sites in New S o u t h Wales (NSW), Australia. In some cases, t h e y noted greater (average of 35 to 57%) soil C in pine p l a n t a t i o n t h a n in the native E u c a l y p t u s forest, in some cases t h e y noted the reverse, a n d in o t h e r c a s e s t h e y f o u n d no differences (Table 5). The a u t h o r s n o t e d t h a t organic m a t t e r was the m a i n soil property t h a t was affected b y p l a n t a t i o n e s t a b l i s h m e n t in their s t u d y and other related studies. Gilmore a n d Rolfe (1980) reported the r e s u l t s of a very careful, statistically s o u n d c o m p a r i s o n of loblolly and shortleaf pine plantations at various spacings on soil properties over a period of 25 yr. Results s h o w e d no effect of spacing, b u t significant differences b e t w e e n species: m i n e r a l soil organic m a t t e r was higher b u t 0 horizon weight w a s lower in the shorfleaf pine t h a n in the loblolly pine s t a n d after 25 yr. Lane (1989) reported no differences in soil C after conversion of native h a r d w o o d s to loblolly pine in S o u t h Carolina. Alban (1982) c o m p a r e d soil properties in a d j a c e n t s t a n d s of trembling a s p e n (Populus t r e m u l o i d e s ) , white s p r u c e (Picea glauca), j a c k pine (Pinus b a n k s i a n a ) , a n d red pine (P. resinosa) at two sites in n o r t h e r n Minnesota. There were no differences in total forest floor weight a m o n g the s t a n d s at either site, b u t the a s p e n soil h a d significantly lower s u r f a c e soil organic m a t t e r (10 to 40%) t h a n the o t h e r species at b o t h sites. One s t u d y of peripheral i n t e r e s t was t h a t of A m e n d i n g e r (1990) w h i c h indicated a large (>50%) loss of soil C with the invasion of j a c k pine in prairie d u r i n g the Holocene inferred from a c h r o n o s e q u e n c e study. Feger et al (1990) reported the n u t r i e n t b u d g e t s of two c o n t r a s t i n g w a t e r s h e d s in G e r m a n y which are relevent to the s u b j e c t of species effects on soil C change. No soil C or N d a t a were p r e s e n t e d to d o c u m e n t the actual decline in soil C, N, a n d S contents, a n d t h u s the s t u d y is not s u m m a r i z e d in Table 5; however, some of the results are w o r t h s u m m a r i z i n g here. The sites were: S c h l u c h s e e , w h i c h h a s granitic b e d r o c k a n d within w h i c h Norway s p r u c e (Picea abies) are experiencing Mg deficiency, a n d Villingen, w h i c h h a s s a n d s t o n e b e d r o c k a n d within w h i c h Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and silver fir

T a b l e 5. E f f e c t s of s p e c i e s c h a n g e o n s o i l C. Results Reference Turner and Kelp 1985 Turner and L a m b e ~ 1988 Gilmore and Rol~ 1980 tLarge loss (>50%) inferred in j a c k pine invasion during the Holocene No change after 23 yr Almendinger 1990 Lane 1989 Soil C was greater (by 45% in surface and 27% in subsurface horizons) beneath pines in one site, no difference in another site. Pine h a d greater soil C in low fertility site, lower soft C in high fertility site. Greater soil C (20%) but lower O horizon in shortleaf plantations at age 25. No effect of spacing.

Location

Treatments

Australia [Pinus radiata, Eucalyptu s)

Radiata pine vs E u c a l y p t u s

Australia (P. radiata, Eucalyptus)

Radiata pine v__ssEucalyptus

Illinois (P. echintata, P. taedaJ

Loblolly vs shortleaf pine plantations on former a g r i c u l t u r a l land

Minnesota {P. banksiana)

Chronosequence of prairiet o j a c k pine

Clemson, SC (P. taeda)

Conversion of hardwood to loblolly pine

Minnesota (Pinus resinosa, P. b a n k s i a n a , Picea glauca, Populus tremuloides)

Comparison of four species at 40 yr of age

Significantly less soft C u n d e r aspen (10-40%) t h a n other species

Alban 1982

SOIL CARBON STORAGE

101

(Abies alba) are experiencing K deficiency. Of i n t e r e s t to this review are high r a t e s of N a n d S leaching from the S c h l u c s e e w a t e r s h e d , a n effect attributable to the mineralization of organic m a t t e r left in subsoils from a deeper-rooted b e e c h s t a n d (Fagus sylvatica) w h i c h occupied the site 150 yr previously. 3.6 REFORESTATION AND SUCCESSION E x a m i n i n g the c h a n g e s in soil C during reforestation a n d s u c c e s s i o n is one w a y of gaining some insight into the long-term effects of harvesting, cultivation, etc., on soil C reserves (Table 6). In cases w h e r e former agricultural land is reverted to forest or w h e r e newly developing soil u n d e r g o e s afforestation, soil C u s u a l l y i n c r e a s e s substantially. In a s t u d y involving resampling of soils over time, J o h n s o n et al (1988) n o t e d either i n c r e a s e s (30 to 100%) or no significant c h a n g e in surface soil (0 to 15 cm) C over a n l l - y r period in aggrading forests growing on former agricultural land on Walker B r a n c h Watershed, T e n n e s s e e . J e n k i n s o n (1970, 1991) reported t h e r e s u l t s of the R o t h a m s t e d studies of organic m a t t e r a n d n u t r i e n t c h a n g e s in soils left u n c u l t i v a t e d since the early 1880's. One site (Broadbalk) was on a c a l c a r e o u s soil t h a t h a d b e e n limed s o m e t i m e during the 18th or early 19th c e n t u r y , the effects of which were still evident in the pH of s a m p l e s t a k e n in 1964 to 1965. The o t h e r site (Geescroft) received N a n d P fertilizers b u t no lime and c o n s e q u e n t l y experienced significant acidification (pH 7.1 to 4.5) from 1883 to 1965. Differences in acidification were t h o u g h t to have resulted in s u b s t a n t i a l differences in soil organic C, N, S, and P, all of which were greater at Broadbalk. Soil organic C in Broadbalk i n c r e a s e d by 80% over the 83-yr period, w h e r e a s Geescroft i n c r e a s e d by only half as m u c h ( J e n k i n s o n 1970). Rates of N, S, a n d P a c c u m u l a t i o n were also considerably greater at Broadbalk t h a n Geescroft. Of special interest was the finding t h a t the r a t e s of organic N a c c u m u l a t i o n (65 and 23 kg N h a -1 y r -1) were g r e a t e r t h a n could be a c c o u n t e d for b y either a t m o s p h e r i c deposition or N fixation by legumes. C h r o n o s e q u e n c e studies have also s h o w n significant soil C a c c u m u l a t i o n w h e n former agricultural land is reforested or afforested. Wilde (1964) e x a m i n e d soil organic m a t t e r in 100 red pine (Pinus resinosa) plots of varying age (from 10 50 yr) planted on former agricultural land in Wisconsin. He found a linear i n c r e a s e in soil organic m a t t e r in the top 15 cm of soil with s t a n d age, with the overall i n c r e a s e being 300 to 400% over 40 yr. Lugo et al (1986) a s s e s s e d the affects of conversion of former agricultural land to either forest or p a s t u r e in Puerto Rico. T h e y were motivated to test some of the a s s u m p t i o n s u s e d in global climate models t h a t the top 1 m of soil loses 65% of its C after deforestation, a n d t h a t it can r e t u r n to within

T a b l e 6. E f f e c t s o f r e f o r e s t a t i o n Results Linear increase (+300 to 400%) in soil C in top 15 cm up through age 50 35% increase in soil C over 50 yr Schfffman a n d J o h n s o n 1990 Weaver et al 1987 Wilde 1964 Reference

and succession

o n s o i l C.

Location

Treatments

Wisconsin (Pinus b a n k s i a n a )

lOO p l a n t a t i o n s o n old fields

Virgnina {P. taeda, P. vir~inianal 50% greater soft C in s e c o n d a r y forest

Old field chronosequence

Puerto Rico (Subtropical wet a n d moist forests)

Coffee shade p l a n t a t i o n s v_~s s e c o n d a r y forest

Puerto Rico (Subtropical forests) Initially high A horizon soil C due to bedding of slash decreases by 50% to pre-harvest levels by age 5. No t r e n d from ages 5 to 35.

Approximate doubling of soil C w i t h i n 50 yr, to Conversion of agricultural l a n d to w i t h i n 90% of m a t u r e forest. forest or p a s t u r e

Lugo et al 1986

>

Florida (P. eliottii)

Chronosequence after forest h a r v e s t

Gholz a n d F i s h e r 1982

Rothamsted, UK (Mixed hardwoods)

Agricultural l a n d reverted to forest

Approximate doubling of soil C over 83 y e a r s Decrease (-20%) in Ap over 75 years. Increase i n O horizon was greater t h a n decrease i n Ap. Decrease i n forest floor in regrowth, n o change in soil C 3 8 0 kg h a -I yr -I a c c u m u l a t i o n over first 191 yr; slower thereafter up to 4000 yr

J e n k i n s o n 1970, 1991 H a m b u r g 1984

H u b b a r d Brook, NH (Northern hardwood)

Old field chronosequence

Oregon (Tsu~a m e r t e n s i a n a l

Mt. hemlock waves

Boone et al 1988 Vitousek et al 1983

Hawaii (Metrosideros collina ssp. oolvmorohal

ohi'a forest o n a s h a n d lava flow

Tennessee (Mixed deciduous) No change in fir after 25 yr; slight decrease (25%) in redwood until age 25, then increase Likely logging residue effect. Durgin 1980

11-year interval sampling

Either no change or increases in soil C (20-100%)

J o h n s o n et al 1988

Six Rivers, CA (Mixed conifer, Sequoia sempervirens)

Chronosequences following clearcutting

F
(3 > 0

8
> rn

104

DALE W. JOHNSON

75% of its original value within 50 y r of a b a n d o n m e n t of agriculture. T h e y evaluated the effects of a b a n d o n m e n t of agriculture in several life zones (subtropical wet, dry, a n d moist forest) t h r o u g h r e s a m p l i n g of specific sites t h r o u g h time a n d c h r o n o s e q u e n c e studies. T h e y f o u n d t h a t recovery of soil C was m u c h more rapid t h a n generally a s s u m e d in models: for instance, c h r o n o s e q u e n c e s t u d i e s indicated t h a t a b a n d o n e d agricultural soils in the wet a n d moist forest life zones regained 90% of the soil C in m a t u r e forests within 50 yr, a n d in the dry zone, recovery of soil C to levels in m a t u r e forests o c c u r r e d within 30 yr. Schiffman a n d J o h n s o n (1990) c o m p a r e d C c o n t e n t s of two loblolly pine c h r o n o s e q u e n c e s , one growing on a former agricultural field, a n d one on a site converted from n a t u r a l l y - r e g e n e r a t e d Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana). There was a large increase in e c o s y s t e m C c o n t e n t (235%), m o s t l y due to p h y t o m a s s in the old field c h r o n o s e q u e n c e b u t only a 24% gain in the n a t u r a l forest conversion c h r o n o s e q u e n c e . Similarly, there was a large i n c r e a s e in soil C (57%) in the old field c h r o n o s e q u e n c e a n d no significant c h a n g e in the forest conversion c h r o n o s e q u e n c e . The a u t h o r s drew two i m p o r t a n t c o n c l u s i o n s as to the effects of reforestation in the s o u t h e a s t e r n U.S.: 1) t h e r e were "negligible oxidative losses of c a r b o n from soils after h a r v e s t a n d site preparation" of n a t u r a l forests (p. 69), a n d 2) "the conversion of n a t u r a l forests to plantations is no s u b s t i t u t e for the farm to forest conversion" in t e r m s of C storage. The latter is of significance, in view of the m a r k e d r e d u c t i o n s in the rate of old field reforestation in this region. An exception to the general p a t t e r n of i n c r e a s e d soil C after reforestation of formerly cultivated soils is the s t u d y by H a m b u r g (1984) at H u b b a r d Brook, NH. In this case, Ap horizon soil C d e c r e a s e d over the 75-yr c h r o n o s e q u e n c e . Even in this case, however, i n c r e a s e s in 0 horizon C more t h a n offset the d e c r e a s e s in Ap horizon C. In c a s e s w h e r e reforestation a n d s u c c e s s i o n follow previous forests, t h e r e is no clear pattern. As noted above, Schiffman a n d J o h n s o n (1990) found negligible effects of forest conversion from native Virginia pine to loblolly pine. Boone et al (1988) f o u n d no c h a n g e in soil C b u t a decrease in 0 horizon C in regrowth following h e m l o c k waves in Oregon. Durgin (1980) found no c h a n g e s in fir forests 25 y r after clearcutting and slight d e c r e a s e s followed b y i n c r e a s e s in redwood forests following clearcutting in California. In a c h r o n o s e q u e n c e s t u d y in s l a s h pine (Pinus elliottii), Gholz a n d Fisher (1982) f o u n d t h a t the A horizon of a 2-yr-old s t a n d c o n t a i n e d approximately twice as m u c h soil C as the other s t a n d s (up to age 34) in the c h r o n o s e q u e n c e ) , w h i c h was a t t r i b u t e d to b e d d e d slash. A s s u m i n g t h a t the c h r o n s e q u e n c e t r u l y r e p r e s e n t e d t r e n d s with time, t h e effect of slash bedding was very short-lived: soil C d e c r e a s e d b y 50% to a p p r o x i m a t e l y p r e - h a r v e s t levels by age 5.

SOIL CARBON STORAGE

105

3.7 NITROGEN FIXATION AND FERTILIZATION For the p u r p o s e s of this review, the effects of N-fixing species a n d fertilization on soil C were c o m b i n e d into one category (Table 7). For t h e m o s t part, the p r e s e n c e of N-fixers c a u s e d s u b s t a n t i a l (20 to 100%) i n c r e a s e s in soil C a n d N (Table 7). The one exception to this general rule w a s the s t u d y b y P a s c h k e et al (1989) in Illinois, which e v a l u a t e d the effects of black alder (Alnus glutinosa) a n d a u t u m n olive (Elaegnus umbellata) interplantings with black w a l n u t ( J u g l a n s nigra). In this case, interplanting with b o t h alder a n d a u t u m n olive r e s u l t e d in significantly greater mineral N levels a n d N mineralization rates t h a n in w a l n u t alone, b u t there were no i n c r e a s e s in either soil total C or N with interplanting after 18 yr. Indeed, there w a s a clear and significant t r e n d toward lower soil C a n d N in the a u t u m n olive i n t e r p l a n t e d p l a n t a t i o n s t h a n in w a l n u t only plantations. R e a s o n s for this w e r e not known. A n o t h e r s e e m i n g exception to this general rule w a s the C a s c a d e H e a d site in Oregon, where there w a s only an 11% difference in soil C b e t w e e n red alder (Alnus rubra) and Douglas-fir ( P s e u d o t s u g a menziesii) soils. In this case, however, the Douglas-fir soil w a s quite high in b o t h C and N, and the 11% difference w a s actually a b o u t equal in m a g n i t u d e to larger p e r c e n t a g e i n c r e a s e s at other sites (Binkley a n d Sollins 1990). Fertilization generally c a u s e d an increase in soil C, as one would e x p e c t given its expected effect u p o n p r i m a r y productivity. However, the i n c r e a s e s in soil C with fertilization were generally not as large as t h o s e d u e to the p r e s e n c e of N fixers. N o h r s t e d t et al (1989) e v a l u a t e d soil C a n d microbial activity in two sites in Sweden: Kroksbo, which w a s t r e a t e d with a m m o n i u m nitrate and u r e a at 150 and 6 0 0 kg N ha-1 11 yr previously, a n d Nissafors, which w a s treated with 150 kg N h a -1 as a m m o n i u m nitrate at b o t h 8-yr and 1 yr previously (for a total of 3 0 0 kg N ha-l). They found an increase of 16 to 25% in litter p l u s soil C in t h e Kroksbo site, and an increase of 10% overall in the Nissafors site. The effect w a s more p r o n o u n c e d at higher fertilization levels and m o r e p r o n o u n c e d with a m m o n i u m nitrate t h a n with urea. Interestingly, t h e y could n o t a c c o u n t for the i n c r e a s e d C with i n c r e a s e d litterfall, and a t t r i b u t e the effect to r e d u c e d microbial activity per u n i t organic C. Van Cleve a n d Moore (1978) noted i n c r e a s e s in soil C of 13 to 17% with N ( a m m o n i u m nitrate) a n d P (triple s u p e r P) fertilization of a s p e n sites in central Alaska. T u r n e r a n d L a m b e r t (1986) noted u p to 22% i n c r e a s e in soil C 30 yr after a single s u p e r p h o s p h a t e fertilization in a P-deficient R a d i a t a pine plantation in New S o u t h Wales, Australia. In c o n t r a s t , M c C a r t h y (1983) found only a slight (5%) i n c r e a s e in soil C in s l a s h pine p l a n t a t i o n s in Florida 20 yr after P fertilization. Gilmore a n d Boggess (1963) a n d Gilmore (1977, 1980) r e p o r t e d on s t u d i e s

Table 7. Effects of nitrogen fixation a n d fertilization on soil C.


Results
I n c r e a s e s b y 30-100% Binkley 1983

Location

Treatments

Reference

British Columbia, Washington {Pseudotsuga menziesii, A l n u s rubra} 36% increase (+28,020 kg ha- 1, p=90%) at W i n d River, n o n - s i g n i f i c a n t 11% i n c r e a s e of a b o u t the s a m e a b s o l u t e m a g n i t u d e (+25,020 kg h a -1) at Cascade Head 40 to 60% i n c r e a s e with C e a n o t h u s

N fixation

Wind River a n d Cascade Head, OR (P. menziesii A. rubra)

N fixation

B i n k l e y a n d Sollins 1990

N fixation

Binkley et al 1982 > F ~

Oregon (P. menziesii, Ceanothus spp.) 50% m o r e C in red a l d e r soil

T h o m p s o n , WA (P. Menziesii, A. rubra)

N fixation

Brozek 1990 Z 9

Wind River, OR (.P. menziesii, A. rubra)

Interplanting with N fixers

G r e a t e r in s u r f a c e soils in i n t e r p l a n t i n g v s fir alone (+30-40%) Increase (+22%, , n o t significant) with A l n u s ; d e c r e a s e (-15%, not significant) with E l a e a g n u s

T a r r a n t a n d Miller 1963 P a s c h k e et al 1989

Illinois (Juglans nigra, A l n u s glutinosa, E l a e a g n u s umbellata]

Interplanting with N fixers

Illinois {Platanus occidentalis. Fraxinus pennsylvanica, L i r i o d e n d r o n tulipifera}

Previously limed plots were 20-30% h i g h e r P l a n t a t i o n s on (p=95%) t h r o u g h o u t t h e study. M a n u r i n g a d d e d agricultural land increase, a n d y e l l o w - p o p l a r h a d h i g h e r C, also previously t r e a t e d with m a n u r e , crop residue, r o c k p h o s p h a t e , a n d lime

Gilmore. 1977

Illinois (Pinus taeda, P. strobus, P. resinosa, P. echinata)

P l a n t a t i o n s on agricultural land previously t r e a t e d with m a n u r e , crop residue, r o c k p h o s p h a t e , a n d lime Slight i n c r e a s e (5%) with h i g h e s t application (157-314 kg h a -1. Very large i n c r e a s e in forest floor. (No statistics) 10-26% g r e a t e r C in fertilized plots m o s t p r o n o u n c e d at h i g h e r fertilizer levels a n d with a m m o n i u m n i t r a t e . Effect d u e to r e d u c e d m i c r o b i a l activity r a t h e r t h a n g r e a t e r litterfall. (Not significant at 95% level) 9% i n c r e a s e with l u p i n e [p=95%), 6% i n c r e a s e with fertilization (not sign.) 17% i n c r e a s e with b o t h (not sign.) Up to 22% increase with 100 kg P h a -1. M c C a r t h y 1983

Soft C w a s 2x greater in limed plots in 1955 b u t b y 1978, differed b y only 10-20% (p=95%). Soil C in u n l i m e d plots i n c r e a s e d to n e a r limed plot levels.

Gilmore 1980

Florida (Pinus elliottii)

P fertilization

Sweden (Pinus svlvestris)

Urea a n d ammonium n i t r a t e at 150 a n d 600 kg N ha-1

Nohrstedt et al 1989

New Z e a l a n d P(_P~. radiata)

N,P,K,S,Ca, a n d Mg fertilizer a n d l u p i n e s on sand dunes

B a k e r et al 1986

r~

Australia (P. radiata)

Superphosphate

Turner and Lambert 1986 V a n Cleve a n d Moore 1978

Alaska (Populus tremuloides)

A m m o n i u m n i t r a t e I n c r e a s e in surface soil with N (+30%, p=95%) (777 kg h a - l ) , triple and P (+34%, p=95%) s u p e r P (385 kg h a - i ) , KC1 (111 kg h a - l . a s K) over a 6-yr period

108

DALE W. JOHNSON

w h e r e v a r i o u s tree species (both p i n e s a n d h a r d w o o d s ) were p l a n t e d on a g r i c u l t u r a l soils previously treated with m a n u r e , crop residue, P (rock p h o s p h a t e ) a n d limestone, b o t h singly a n d in c o m b i n a t i o n . In t h e h a r d w o o d p l a n t a t i o n s , previosusly limed plots h a d significantly g r e a t e r (20 to 30%) soil organic m a t t e r at t h e s t a r t of t h e s t u d y , a n d t h e effect carried t h r o u g h t h e 18th yr. In t h e p i n e p l a n t a t i o n s (_p_. t a e d a , P. e c h i n a t a , P. resinosa, a n d P. strobus), previously limed soils h a d twice as m u c h organic m a t t e r (OM) initially (in 1955). Soil OM i n c r e a s e d in b o t h limed a n d u n l i m e d plots, b u t at a greater rate in t h e u n l i m e d plots, so t h a t at age 24, the limed plots were only 20 to 25% h i g h e r in soil OM. B a k e r et al (1986) c o m p a r e d t h e effects of m i x e d fertilizer (960, 410, 410, 140, 200, a n d 2 9 0 kg h a -1 of N, P, K, S, Ca, a n d Mg, respectively), l u p i n e ( L u p i n u s arboreus), a n d l u p i n e p l u s fertilizer on p l a n t e d r a d i a t a pine on s a n d d u n e sites in New Zealand. T h e y d o c u m e n t e d a statistically significant effect of fertilization on soil C (115% in t h e top 5 cm). L u p i n e a n d l u p i n e p l u s fertilizer also c a u s e d i n c r e a s e s (47 a n d 89%, respectively), b u t t h e s e were n o t statistically significant. To a 1 m soil d e p t h , t h e effects of t r e a t m e n t s were s o m e w h a t different, however: only the l u p i n e t r e a t m e n t w a s significantly different from control (9% greater), a l t h o u g h fertilizer a n d l u p i n e p l u s fertilizer t r e a t m e n t s alone also r e s u l t e d in i n c r e a s e s (6 a n d 17% greater, respectively).
4. Conclusions

Despite t h e n u m e r o u s u n c e r t a i n t i e s a n d caveats n o t e d in Section 2, t h e r e s u l t s of this literature review reveal s o m e r e a s o n a b l y c o n s i s t e n t r e s u l t s a n d t r e n d s in soil C u n d e r various forest m a n a g e m e n t scenarios. It h a s long b e e n e s t a b l i s h e d a n d r e m a i n s clear t h a t cultivation leads to s u b s t a n t i a l d e c r e a s e s in soil C in all b u t t h e m o s t Cp o o r soils (Figure 2; M a n n 1985, 1986; S c h l e s i n g e r 1986; Detwiler 1986). However, the a s s u m p t i o n t h a t soil C d e c r e a s e s on t h e order of 30 to 40% following forest h a r v e s t i n g (e.g., H o u g h t o n et al 1983; M u s s e l m a n a n d Fox 1991) is n o t s u p p o r t e d by the literature reviewed here. Rather, it a p p e a r s as if losses of soil C after h a r v e s t i n g a n d r e f o r e s t a t i o n are negligible in m o s t cases. The effects of harvesting, site p r e p a r a t i o n , a n d b u r n i n g on soil C (not i n c l u d i n g litter) are s u m m a r i z e d in Figure 3a a n d b. In Figure 3a, only statistically significant r e s u l t s are reported w h e r e a s in Figure 3b, all r e s u l t s are reported.

SOIL CARBON STORAGE

109

Effect of Cultivation on Soil Carbon


1000

Q;

100

lO

>50% 40-50% 30~10% 20-3070 10-20% _+10% 10-20% 20-30% 30-40% 40-50% >50%

Decrease

Percent Change

Increase

Figure 2. F r e q u e n c y d i s t r i b u t i o n of the p e r c e n t a g e c h a n g e in soil C w i t h cultivation (see Table 2 for d a t a sources). R e g a r d l e s s of w h e t h e r only statistically significant differences or overall t r e n d s are c o n s i d e r e d , t h e majority of s t u d i e s reviewed h e r e indicate little or no c h a n g e in soil C (i.e., + 10%) following h a r v e s t i n g a n d reforestation. The exceptions to this are primarily in t h e tropics, w h e r e recovery to original levels after reforestation is a p p a r e n t l y quite rapid, a n d in c a s e s w h e r e h a r v e s t i n g is followed by i n t e n s e b r o a d c a s t b u r n i n g (e.g., S a n d s 1983). However, t h e r e are also i n s t a n c e s w h e r e soil C i n c r e a s e d after harvesting, p r o b a b l y d u e to the a d d i t i o n s of slash, i n c r e a s e d d e c o m p o s i t i o n rates, a n d i n c o r p o r a t i o n of organic m a t t e r into t h e m i n e r a l soil (e.g., Gholz a n d F i s h e r 1982; H e n r i c k s e n et al 1989). It is i m p o r t a n t to recognize t h a t cultivation for crops differs s u b s t a n t i a l l y from h a r v e s t i n g a n d site p r e p a r a t i o n in n e w forest p l a n t a t i o n s . Crop cultivation typically involves m u c h m o r e severe a n d p r o l o n g e d d i s t u r b a n c e t h a n harvesting, even with intensive site p r e p a r a t i o n . Crop cultivation also very likely leads to l o n g - t e r m i n c r e a s e s in soil t e m p e r a t u r e , w h e r e a s soil t e m p e r a t u r e s are likely r e t u r n to n e a r p r e - h a r v e s t levels rapidly after t h e d e v e l o p m e n t of a n e w forest canopy. T h u s , it is n o t at all s u r p r i s i n g t h a t soil C losses following h a r v e s t i n g a n d reforestation are s u b s t a n t i a l l y less t h a n w i t h h a r v e s t i n g followed by cultivation, a n d t h e s e differences m u s t be t a k e n

110

DALE W. JOHNSON

Harvesting, Site Preparation, and Prescribed Burning

10
Q; (n

IOB I rn'n0
I I I I

[] []

Site Preparation Harvest

O
M),=

0
,I0

E z
0 >50% 40-50% 3040% 20-30% 10-20% 10-20% 20-30% 3040% 40-50% >50%

16

cant

differences

14 12
10

O
N,--

8
6 4

O
e~

E
Z

e
0 . . . . . 10-20% 20-30% 3040% 40-50~ >50% >50% 40-50% 3040% 20-30% 10-20%

Decrease

Percent Change

Increase

Figure 3. F r e q u e n c y distribution of the percentage c h a n g e in soil C with forest harvesting, site preparation, and burning. A. Statistically significant differences only s h o w n (non-significant differences i n c l u d e d in the + 10% category), B. All differences shown. (See Tables 1,3, a n d 4 for d a t a sources).

SOIL CARBON STORAGE

111

into a c c o u n t w h e n evaluating the effects of forest h a r v e s t i n g in general on global C balances. It is likely true t h a t harvesting a n d cultivation r e s u l t in large c h a n g e s in soil C on the order of 30 to 50% over a period of several decades. However, t h e r e is n o t h i n g in the literature to s u g g e s t t h a t s u c h c h a n g e s o c c u r w h e n harvesting is followed b y forest replanting. It is clear t h a t the effect of fire u p o n soil C is a function of fire intensity. A light or m o d e r a t e b u r n c a u s e s a mobilization of n u t r i e n t s , a n d m a y be beneficial to the growth of the s u b s e q u e n t forest. Figure 4 shows t h a t the effects of regular prescribed fire on soil C is heavily

Regular Prescribed Fire


12

All

Statistically Significant I Data

'i
0
0 .

~176
.~i~i
>50% 40-50%3040%20-30%I0-20% _+10% 10-20%20-30%3040%40-50% >50%

Decrease

Percent Change

Increase

Figure 4. F r e q u e n c y distribution of the p e r c e n t a g e c h a n g e in soil C with r e g u l a r prescribed fire. S=Statistically significant differences only s h o w n (non-significant differences i n c l u d e d in the + 10% category), A=All differences shown. (See Table 6 for d a t a sources). w e i g h t e d toward the c e n t e r (negligible effect) b u t s o m e w h a t skewed right, indicating a positive effect. An i n t e n s e b u r n , on the other h a n d , m a y deplete the soil of volatile n u t r i e n t s (including N, S a n d P; Raison et al 1985), c a u s i n g a long-term d e c r e a s e in forest productivity a n d C sequestration. T h e r e are clearly opportunities for i n c r e a s i n g soil fertility a n d the fixation of C in forest e c o s y s t e m s t h r o u g h the m a n a g e m e n t of forest nutrition: t h e r e is a m a r k e d , clear t r e n d toward greater soil C with the i n t r o d u c t i o n of N-fixers as well as with fertilization (Figure 5). The

112

DALE W. JOHNSON

benefits of this m u s t be weighed a g a i n s t t h e cost of fertilization or t h e cost of allowing N-fixing species of low e c o n o m i c value to i n h a b i t t h e sites in q u e s t i o n .

Fertilization and N-fixers 6 ~

~ N-fixers (s) N-fixers (all)


4

Fertilization (s) Fertilization (all)

0
0
2 .0

,-I

>50% 40-50% 30-40% 20-30% 10-20% +10% 10-20% 20-30% 30-40% 40-50% >50%

Decrease

Percent Change

Increase

Figure 5. F r e q u e n c y d i s t r i b u t i o n of the p e r c e n t a g e c h a n g e in soil C w i t h N fixers a n d fertilization S=Statistically significant differences only s h o w n (non-significant differences i n c l u d e d in t h e + 10% category), A=All differences s h o w n . (See Table 7 for d a t a sources). There are two possible r e a s o n s for t h e i n c r e a s e in soil C following N fixation a n d fertilization: 1) i n c r e a s e d p r o d u c t i v i t y and, therefore, i n c r e a s e d organic m a t t e r i n p u t to soils, a n d 2) stabilization of soil organic m a t t e r . In t h e case of N, non-biological c o n d e n s a t i o n r e a c t i o n s of p h e n o l s with a m m o n i u m are i m p o r t a n t in t h e p r o d u c t i o n of h u m u s (Mortland a n d Wolcott, 1965; Paul a n d Clark 1989). T h e s e r e a c t i o n s are e n h a n c e d by high pH (because NH 3 is t h e reactive form of N) a n d h i g h NH 3 a n d / o r NH4+ c o n c e n t r a t i o n s . B o t h of t h e s e c o n d i t i o n s occur following u r e a fertilization, w h i c h is k n o w n to c a u s e non-biological NH4 + fixation (Foster et al 1985). In the case of Ca a n d o t h e r polyvalent cations, cation bridging of organic colloids c a u s e s c o n d e n s a t i o n a n d stabilization of organic m a t t e r (Oades 1988). O a d e s (1988) s u g g e s t s t h a t t h e w e l l - d o c u m e n t e d positive r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n soil clay a n d organic m a t t e r c o n t e n t m a y actually be t h e r e s u l t

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1 I3

of greater polyvalent cation availability (either Ca or AI) in clay rich soils. B e c a u s e Ca is rarely limiting to tree growth, the positive effects of liming on soil C noted b y Gilmore (1977, 1980) a n d J e n k i n s o n (1970, 1991) are likely due to t h e s e reactions r a t h e r t h a n a direct effect u p o n p l a n t p r i m a r y productivity.

5. Research Needs
As n o t e d in the Objectives a n d Methods section, t h e r e are n u m e r o u s i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s in the way d a t a was collected and s u m m a r i z e d in the s t u d i e s reviewed here. This is certainly not m e a n t as a criticism of t h e s e studies, e a c h of w h i c h was designed to test a specific h y p o t h e s i s or a n s w e r a specific question. However, there is a clear n e e d for a coordinated, regional s t u d y on the effects of forest m a n a g e m e n t on soil C d y n a m i c s s u c h as h a s b e e n done for n u t r i e n t effects (e.g., M a n n et al 1988) a n d s u c h as t h a t proposed by Powers et al (1990). S u c h a s t u d y s h o u l d control for both m a n a g e m e n t practices (e.g., degree of r e s i d u e removed, burning, bedding, etc.) a n d establish sampling protocols t h a t eliminate the c u r r e n t u n c e r t a i n t i e s arising from u n k n o w n effects of spatial and temporal variation a m o n g s t u d y sites. In addition to (or in c o n j u n c t i o n with) a c o o r d i n a t e d regional study, m o r e r e s e a r c h is n e e d e d on the processes controlling soil C a c c u m u l a t i o n a n d loss. What are the roles of t e m p e r a t u r e v e r s u s m o i s t u r e on decomposition? What are the effects of e x t r e m e s v e r s u s c h a n g e s in m e a n values of t e m p e r a t u r e a n d moisture? W h a t role do n u t r i e n t s play in stabilization or loss of soil organic m a t t e r ? S u c h process studies should include not only c h a n g e s in litter decomposition, w h i c h h a s b e e n extensively studied, b u t also the incorporation of litter into soil organic m a t t e r and, ultimately, h u m u s . Investigations of soil C fractions, even on existing s t u d y sites, m a y be a m e a n i n g f u l first step in obtaining insight into i m p o r t a n t processes.

Acknowledgments
R e s e a r c h s u p p o r t e d by the National Council of the Paper I n d u s t r y for Air a n d S t r e a m Improvement, Inc. (NCASI). An earlier version of this p a p e r was i s s u e d as a NCASI report. Many t h a n k s are due to Bill S c h l e s i n g e r a n d Kim M a t t s o n for t h e i r c o m m e n t s .

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