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Soil health assessment of forest soils [Chapter 6]

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Page-Dumroese, Deborah S.; Sanchez, Felipe G.; Udawatta, Ranjith P.; Perry, Charles (Hobie); Gonzalez, Grizelle

Year Published

2021

Publication

In: Karlen, Douglas L.; Stott, Diane E.; Mikha, Maysoon M., eds. Approaches to Soil Health Analysis (First Edition, Vol. 1). Soil Health Series, Soils Science Society of America. p. 100-138.

Abstract

Forest sustainability is explicitly tied to soil health, which has been defined as "the capacity of a soil to function within ecosystem boundaries to sustain biological productivity, maintain environmental quality, and promote plant and animal health" (Doran et al., 1996; Sigua, 2018). This definition includes the ability of soil to function effectively as a component of healthy forests (Schoenholtz et al., 2000) and is linked to the soils ability to support physical, chemical, and biological properties while also suppressing plant pathogens (van Bruggen and Semenov, 2000). In broad terms, forest soil health can be defined as a capacity for water retention, carbon (C) sequestration, and plant productivity, or it could simply be defined as the ability of the soil to produce biomass (Schoenholtz et al., 2000). For forested ecosystems to be sustainable, soil health must be maintained. Forest soil health is linked with the amount and composition of surface and mineral soil organic matter (SOM; Harvey et al., 1979; Harvey et al., 1981). In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service requirement to leave 25 to 27 tons ha-1 of coarse woody material greater than 14 cm in diameter. comes from the need to provide ‘parent material’ for decayed wood in many forest ecosystems (Harvey et al., 1981) and ensure a healthy population of ectomycorrhizal fungi. Although mineral SOM is a small fraction of mineral soil mass (1-5%), it is responsible for a majority of soil physical, chemical, and biological properties through plant litter and anthropogenic inputs (Liang et al., 1998; Six and Jastrow, 2002).

Keywords

orest soils; health assessments; forest sustainability; biomass; soil organic matter (SOM)

Citation

Page-Dumroese, Deborah S.; Sanchez, Felipe G.; Udawatta, Ranjith P.; Perry, Charles (Hobie); Gonzalez, Grizelle. 2021. Soil health assessment of forest soils [Chapter 6]. In: Karlen, Douglas L.; Stott, Diane E.; Mikha, Maysoon M., eds. Approaches to Soil Health Analysis (First Edition, Vol. 1). Soil Health Series, Soils Science Society of America. p. 100-138. https://doi.org/10.2136/soilhealth.vol1.

Last updated on: September 24, 2021