Applications of Soil Science in Forest Landscape Planning : Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/dr26z1506

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  • Soils and other resource programs in both public land management agencies and private industry are continually being adapted to the challenges of evolving knowledge and experience in the field of forestry. This dissertation explores new ways of thinking about and using soils information in forest planning and management, with a focus on Pacific Northwest lands. At the core of this work are the concepts of soil quality, in particular, the applications of inherent and dynamic soil quality. These soil quality concepts can be used as both a planning tool to improve our understanding and assessment of land-use decisions and as an assessment tool to evaluate the sustainability of different management practices. The result is two very different types of soil interpretations based on inherent and dynamic soil quality concepts which are applied at different times and for different purposes during forest planning and management. Forest planning soil interpretations that are based upon inherent soil quality are used primarily to make land use allocations and related decisions. These interpretations are applied up-front in the forest planning process and are based on the fact that different soils vary widely in their inherent capacity to perform various ecological and utilitarian functions. By both recognizing different soil types in the local landscape and understanding how those various soils naturally function, managers can use inherent soil interpretations to better match land management objectives to soil types that have a high capacity to meet those objectives. Matching soil potentials to the appropriate land management actions in this manner helps to assure management actions will be both attainable and sustainable over the long term. Soil interpretations that are based upon dynamic soil quality differ from those based upon inherent soil quality in that dynamic soil interpretations are primarily used to assess the sustainability of management practices. These interpretations identify different soils' resistance and resilience to disturbances and use soil-based indicators of key soil functions to make assessments of the effects of different disturbances. A conceptual "forest planning and management model" is presented that illustrates applications of these soil quality concepts in the forest planning process. Concepts and practical applications of the conceptual model are illustrated in current forest level planning projects within the US Forest Service (FS) Region 6. Soil disturbance monitoring was also conducted in recently managed areas and used to both provide a practical procedure for monitoring soil porosity changes and to present a case for updating current directives and guidelines for FS Region 6 Soil Quality Standards. It is my hope that this work will be of value to both soil scientists and other forest resource specialists and managers. Perhaps one of the more significant contributions that may come of this work is that it may help soil scientists and others to be inspired through a better understanding of the "value added" when soils information is considered in new and effective ways. It is also my hope that this work provides some of the practical ideas and tools necessary to take advantage of opportunities to apply knowledge of the soil resource in future forest planning and management.
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