Biomass harvesting extracts an increased amount of organic matter from forest ecosystems over conventional harvesting. Since organic matter plays a critical role in forest productivity, concerns of potential negative long-term impacts of biomass harvesting on forest productivity (i.e., changing nutrient/water cycling, aggravating soil properties, and compaction) have emerged. There is abundant prediction of long-term impacts of intensive biomass removal on forest productivity. However, the empirical knowledge and comprehensive understanding, especially on western forests, are limited thus far. Therefore, we utilize the available findings to evaluate potential impacts of increased biomass extraction on western forests.
AUTHOR Deborah S. Page-Dumroese
Deborah is a Supervisory Research Soil Scientist at the Rocky Mountain Research Station for USDA Forest Service. She is based in Moscow, Idaho.