Coevolution of Soils and Forest Ecosystems in the Ouachita Mountains Region

  • Phillips, Jonathan (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


GOAlS AND OBJECTIVES The goal of this project is to investigate the relationship between forest ecology and soil properties in upland forests of the Ouachita National Forest, Arkansas/Oklahoma. This will support decisions on forest management relative to maintenance and improvement of soil quality, and carbon sequestration. The emphasis is on persistent effects on soil morphology (as opposed to more transient biochemical impacts), the relative importance of vegetation versus other factors in local soil variability, and the role of £loralturbation in soil development. Specific objectives are to: 1. Determine the relative importance of microtopography and trees in local (plot-scale) spatial variability of soils. 2. Establish the extent to which forest ecology and forest ecosystem management is likely to influence soil morphology under given environmental and topographic contraints. 3. Further examine, and refine relationships between coarse woody debris and soil morphologyJdentified in earlier and ongoing studies. 4. Determine whether there are pedologic signatures of forest communities and ecosystems which would assist in reconstructing historical vegetation communities. Objectives 1, 2, and 3 are intended to inform management decisions as they relate to potential effects of forestry practices and ecosystem restoration on soil quality, soil carbon storage, and erosion potential. In addition, objectives 1 and 2 address critical issues raised in earlier and ongoing studies about the extent to which apparent relationships between forest communities or individual trees and soil properties are directly related to vegetation effects on soils, or to the influence of local topographic variation on both vegetation and soils. Objective 4 is relevant to Forest Service efforts to identify and selectively resotre pre-setlement vegetation.
Effective start/end date7/1/02 → 12/31/05


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