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Long-Term Response of a Forest Watershed EcosystemClearcutting in the Southern Appalachians$
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Wayne T. Swank and Jackson R. Webster

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780195370157

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195370157.001.0001

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Recovery of Decomposition and Soil Microarthropod Communities in a Clearcut Watershed in the Southern Appalachians

Recovery of Decomposition and Soil Microarthropod Communities in a Clearcut Watershed in the Southern Appalachians

Chapter:
(p.134) 8 Recovery of Decomposition and Soil Microarthropod Communities in a Clearcut Watershed in the Southern Appalachians
Source:
Long-Term Response of a Forest Watershed Ecosystem
Author(s):

Liam Heneghan

Alissa Salmore

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195370157.003.0008

Studies on decomposition in Watershed 2 (WS 2) and WS 7 at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory have concentrated on tracking changes in this process subsequent to the clearcut in 1977. An assumption was made that microarthropod abundance was similar on WS 2 and WS 7 at Coweeta before WS 7 was cable logged in 1977. After a year, abundance was reduced by more than 50 percent in the clearcut watershed compared with the control. Blair and Crossley (1988) suggested that microarthropod abundance, which remained 28 percent lower in the clearcut area than in the control, may have been responsible for decreased decomposition rates. This chapter presents a study, conducted two decades after the clearcut, that reinvestigated the decomposition dynamics of the litter types examined by Blair and Crossley (1988). It shows that ecosystem successional development at WS 7 was not assisted by restoration management. Decomposition rates and the biota that contribute to the decomposition process are linked. The recovery of the former is dependent to some extent on the recovery of the latter. Even in the absence of management, the decomposer subsystem in a hardwood forest re-established itself after two decades.

Keywords:   decomposition, clearcutting, watersheds, Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, microarthropod abundance

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