Effects of Cutting Intensity on Soil Physical and Chemical Properties in a Mixed Natural Forest in Southeastern China Academic Article uri icon


  • 2015 by the authors. The mixed Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook.), Masson's pine (Pinus massoniana Lamb.), and hardwood forest is a major forest type in China and of national and international importance in terms of its provision of both timber and ecosystem services. However, over-harvesting has threatened its long-term productivity and sustainability. We examined the impacts of timber harvesting intensity on soil physical and chemical properties 10 and 15 years after cutting using the research plots established with a randomized block design. We considered five treatments, including clear cutting and low (13.0% removal of growing stock volume), medium (29.1%), high (45.8%), and extra-high (67.1) intensities of selective cutting with non-cutting as the control. The impact on overall soil properties derived from principal component analysis showed increasing with a rise in cutting intensity, and the most critical impact was on soil nutrients, P and K in particular. Soil nutrient loss associated with timber harvesting even at a low cutting intensity could lead to nutrient deficits in this forest although most of the soil physical properties could be recovered under the low and medium intensities of cutting. These results indicate that clear cutting and the selective cutting of extra-high and high intensities should be avoided in this type of forest in the region.

published proceedings

  • Forests

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhou, X., Zhou, Y., Zhou, C., Wu, Z., Zheng, L., Hu, X., Chen, H., & Gan, J.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Zhou, Xinnian||Zhou, Yuan||Zhou, Chengjun||Wu, Zhilong||Zheng, Lifeng||Hu, Xisheng||Chen, Hanxian||Gan, Jianbang

publication date

  • December 2015