Effects of woody biomass retention and distribution patterns on select soil quality indicators in Lower Coastal Plain soils of North Carolina and Georgia
Hoadley, Christian Wells
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In this study, the effects of retention, distribution and piling of harvest-residues on soil physical and chemical properties in Lower Coastal Plain soils were investigated. Overall, we found reductions in total C and N that were consistent with residue retention treatments, but more often than not, differences were not statistically significant. Equipment trafficking during harvest and site-preparation contributed to the compaction of the mineral soil surface horizon. Changes in particle size distribution indicate soil mixing occurred during harvest operations and site preparation; resulting in finer-textures in the mineral soil surface horizon. Overall, harvest-residue pile size had few significant effects on measured soil quality indicators. However, results of soil moisture, soil temperature, soil respiration, total soil organic carbon, and total soil nitrogen demonstrated high variability among pile size designation (large, medium, and small) and study location. An evaluation of electromagnetic induction to measure conductivity of residue pile density suggests that the Dualem-2S is sensitive to increases in the mass of woody debris.