Soil rehabilitation following tractor logging: early results on amendments and tilling in a second rotation Acacia mangium plantation in Sabah, Malaysia

Soil rehabilitation following tractor logging: early results on amendments and tilling in a second rotation Acacia mangium plantation in Sabah, Malaysia

Timber extraction with crawler tractors in humid tropical forests causes degradation of
soil physical properties and decreases plant growth. We tested rehabilitation of tracks in
a second rotation Acacia mangium plantation in Sabah, Malaysia, by tilling with
additions of NPK-fertilizer, ash and organic material to a depth of 15–20 cm. Two years
after planting total basal area of A. mangium seedlings was 62% higher outside tracks
compared to unimproved tracks, while on NPK-fertilized tracks performance was 700%
higher compared to unimproved tracks. Corresponding figures for average height were
40 and 80%. After 8 days with little rain track topsoil experienced water shortage with
all studied soil improvements. For ‘non-tracked’ areas wilting-point (-1500 kPa) was not
reached during 17 days of dry weather, and more meso-pores were present.
Consequently, depending on rainfall after planting the effect of soil rehabilitation on tree
performance may be less positive than shown here, because dry periods of 2 weeks
length are common in the humid tropics. Bulk density on plots outside tracks in this
second-generation plantation was 60% higher than have been reported in similar first
generation plantations. It is discussed that this might be a warning that repeated
logging and fire may have a detrimental effect on soil physical properties.

Authors: Ilstedt, U.

Topic: Acrisols,ultisols,forest plantations,forest roads,forest trails,forest soils,soil physical properties,soil degradation,logging effects,soil water potential,rehabilitation,soil amendments,NPK fertilizers,bulk density,Acacia mangium,tillage,tractors,tropical rain forests

Geographic: Malaysia,Sabah

Publication Year: 2004

ISSN: 0378-1127

Source: Forest Ecology and Management 194(1-3): 215-222


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