3. Logging – Nutrients and Essential Elements

60.  What makes a healthy tree or plant?
Logging alters the availability in the proper proportions of the right "STEW" - Space, Temperature, Elements and Water over time. It is hard for the energy of the sun to optimally make a tree into the most efficient system on earth when the right amount of essential elements and water has been removed.

61.  What are the requirements for healthy animals of the system?  A water source during dryer times?

62.  With a tree system everything is recycled.    Logging removes a major part of a recycling program where experts have a job to do. 

63.  Logging is removing needed substrate for a decomposition process where fallen trees release essential elements for microbial and plant growth (Maser, Tarrant, Trappe and Franklin, 1988, pg37-par1).     Thus, logging is removing essential elements for microbial and plant growth.
  Elements other than nitrogen such as calcium and magnesium, also accumulate in decomposing woody substrate.  (Maser and Trappe, 1984, pg 16-par2)

64.  Logging is removing woody duff, which regardless of type or size, takes considerably longer to decompose than needle and leaf duff do.  Needles, leaves, and small twigs decompose faster than larger woody material and essential elements are thereby recycled faster in the forest floor. About 140 years are needed for essential elements to cycle in large, fallen trees and more than 400 years for such trees to become incorporated into the forest floor; they therefore would interact with the plants and animals of the forest floor and soil over a long period of forest and stand successional history (Maser, Tarrant, Trappe and Franklin, 1988. pg37-par1).   

65.  Logging is removing the capacity of the system to accumulate nitrogen in decaying, fallen trees as well as other significant essential elements such as calcium and magnesium.  Although nitrogen fixation in wood is modest compared with that occurring in other substrates in forests, the persistence of decaying wood allows small increments of nitrogen to accrue over many decades (Maser and Trappe, 1984, pg 16).
66.  Logging is removing wood that would further decompose which would undergo changes in other chemical constituents and pH as well as physical structure.  Very old, decayed wood can even become somewhat humified and leave long lasting substrate resistant to further decay (Maser and Trappe, 1984, pg 16-par 4).  

67.  Logging is removing trees, which would have been decaying trees.  These trees would have comprised considerable accumulations of mass, nutrients and elements.  (Maser and Trappe, 1984,pg16-par1).

68.  Note: Some of the largest accumulations occur in the unmanaged forest of the Pacific Northwest. Coarse woody debris can range from 130 to 276 tons per acre in stands from 100 to more than 1,000 years old. Although here we are concerned with Douglas fir, neither decaying wood nor research data are unique to forests of the Pacific Northwest.  McFee and Stone (1966) Observed that decaying wood persisted for more than 100 years in New York and others pointed out that substantial accumulations of CWD in old-growth forest in Poland.  These observations evidence the long-term continuity of decaying trees as structural components in forest (Maser and Trappe, 1984, pg 16-par1).
69.  Logging is removing present and future decaying logs on or which would become a part of the forest floor, which would have been a reservoir for nutrients as well as essential elements.  (Page-Dumroese, Harvey, Jurgensen and Graham, 1991).

70.  Logging is removing what would naturally reduce erosion and affect soil development, store nutrients and water, provide a source of energy and essential element flow, serve as seedbeds, and provide habitat for decomposers and heterotrophs (Harmon and Hua, 1991).

71.  Logging reduces the pool of stable nutrients. An important feature of woody debris is that nutrients are released at slower rates than from fine duff. This slow release allows essential elements to be retained within the ecosystem until tree production recovers. Timber harvest and salvage after disturbance reduces this pool of stable essential elements (Harmon and Hua, 1991).

72.   Logging is stopping the decomposition of logs and other forms of coarse woody debris which reduce erosion, affect soil development, store essential elements and water, are a potentially large source of energy (nutrients) and essential elements, serve as a seed bed for plants, and form an important habitat for fungi and arthropods.  Note: Despite growing recognition that symplastless trees play major roles in ecosystem function, many aspects of the specific processes involved are poorly understood. Consider, for example, the importance of CWD in forest essential element cycles.  Aside from nitrogen fixation, few studies have directly examined the processes responsible for the net changes in essential element content of decaying wood.  The actual proportion of tree nutrition that is derived from CWD is not known  (Kropp, 1982).

73.  Thus, logging is increasing soil erosion at the time and over time. 

74.  Logging stops the processes, which would take place between a fallen tree and its surroundings, which would have increased, as decomposition would have continued.  E.g., the flow of plant and animal populations, air, water, and essential elements.  (Maser and Trappe, 1984, pg 12-par1).  Logging kills this system processes by means of disruption and depletion causing dysfunction.

75.  Logging removes structural components of great importance for forest dynamics and forest biodiversity.  The decomposition of trees removed would have provided an important link in cycling on nutrients and essential elements in the ecosystem.  In addition, many species of plants, fungi and animals are dependent on symplastless trees for nutrients, essential elements, habitat or substrate and nesting (Kruys and Jonsson, 1999).

76.  Logging is removing logs, which would have helped reduce erosion by forming "a barrier to creeping and raveling soils (Maser and Trappe, 1984 pg4-par1). 

77.  Logging increases the loss nutrients and essential elements from the site. Such spots would have been excellent for the establishment and growth of vegetation, including tree seedlings.  Vegetation would have been established on and help stabilize this "new soil", and as invertebrates and small vertebrates would have begun to burrow into the new soil, they would not only have nutritionally enriched it with their feces and urine but also constantly mix it by their burrowing activities (Maser and Trappe, 1984 pg 4-par1-2).

78.  Logging removes the habitat, i.e., the would be creations, of inner space within a log, as it would decompose, which many organisms such as plant roots, mites, collembolans, amphibians, and small mammals, must await to enter.  The flow of plant and animal populations, air, water, and nutrients as well as essential elements between fallen tree and its surrounding would have increased if aging process continued (Maser and Trappe, 1984, pg 12).

79.  Logging removes the sponge like mass, which would gather and store moisture and essential elements.  Duff fall and throughfall are major pathways for the flow of essential elements and energy within forests, they contribute essential elements, nutrients and water to so called rotten wood.  The larger a fallen tree, the more duff it accumulates on its surface and the more essential element rich moisture it intercepts from the canopy. The moisture gathers essential elements as it passes through the accumulated duff and soaks into the fallen tree (Maser and Trappe, 1984, pg 19-par 2).

80.  Logging is the removal of CWD, which the associated epiphytic bryophytes would have acted as both essential element and moisture buffers for the ecosystems (FEMAT 1993). This buffering would have allowed the slow release of water and essential elements to surrounding plants. In mature and old growth coastal forests, a large proportion of western hemlock and Sitka spruce seedlings germinate and grow on CWD substrates (Harmon and Franklin 1989; G. Davis, pers. comm., 1994).

81.  Logging is altering the chemistry of the system. The main chemical differences among substrates are: (1) nitrogen content; (2) mineral or ash content-phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium; (3) the carbon matrix-cellulose, lignin, pentosans and (4) the content of other organic compounds-waxes, pigments, carbohydrates, fats, resins, phenolic compounds (Maser and Trappe, 1984 pg11 par 2).  

82.  Logging is altering the amount of nitrogen, however, besides Nitrogen, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, and Phosphorus and other essential elements play key roles in soil, plant and tree health as well as the other associated living organisms (Page-Dumroese, Harvey, Jurgensen and Graham, 1991).

83.  Logging is removing initial, optimal and final stages of fallen trees. Plant - nutrient / essential elements - and the succession of plants on fallen trees is mediated by changes in essential element availability and physical properties over time. Three broad phases can be defined: initial, optimal, final. Early invaders prepare the tree for later colonization by altering its physical and chemical properties during the initial phase.  The altered tree provides the best substrate for a wide array of organisms during the optimal phase.  Ultimately, the depletion of essential elements and physical deterioration of the wood during the optimal phase diminish its value for many organisms, so fewer species inhabit the final phase (Maser and Trappe, 1984, pg 25-par 5). 

84.  Logging is removing CWD, which has the potential to store a large amount of carbon in the ecosystem.  The role of coarse woody debris in storing carbon is often overlooked, with only living plants or soil carbon being considered. Relatively little is known about the formation and rate of decay of coarse woody debris or the factors controlling these processes, despite the relevance of this information to the global carbon cycle (Harmon and Hua, 1991). 

85.  Logging is removing future savings accounts of essential elements and organic material in the forest soil.  The decomposing wood of a fallen tree serves as the latter (Maser and Trappe, 1984, pg 16-par1).
Elements other than nitrogen such as calcium and magnesium, also accumulate in decomposing woody substrate.  (Maser and Trappe, 1984, pg 16-par2)

86.  Logging removes the interactions of fallen trees which interact with essential element cycling processes in a forest through such mechanisms as duff fall (freshly fallen or slightly decomposed plant material from the canopy), throughfall (rain or dew that picks up elements as it falls through the canopy), nitrogen fixation, and essential element uptake by plants associated with the fallen trees (Maser and Trappe, 1984, 19-par2). 

87.  Logging removes opportunities that ground contact by fallen trees creates for various interactions with the biotic components of soil and duff. Fungi, for instance, would translocate essential elements within the soil- system, as both decomposers and root symbionts. Fungi would also immobilize translocated essential elements and thereby enrich the decomposing wood substrates they inhabit. In addition, the colonization of decomposing fallen trees by nitrogen-fixing bacteria permits additional nitrogen accretion within the decaying wood (Maser and Trappe, 1984, pg 19-par 3).      

88.  Logging is removing the external succession processes and benefits of CWD, which is related to the changes that take place in the plant community surrounding a fallen tree (Maser and Trappe, 1984, pg 38-par 1).    

89.  Logging is removing connectors.  A fallen tree is a connector between the successional stages of a community; it would have provided continuity of habitat from the previous forest through subsequent successional stages (Maser and Trappe, 1984, pg 38-par 1).    

90.  Logging is removing a large, would be, fallen or already fallen tree, which would have provided a physical link – an essential element savings account – through time and across successional stages.  Because of its persistence, the log or logs would have provided a long- term, stable structure on which some animal (both invertebrate and vertebrate) populations appear to depend on for survival (Maser and Trappe, 1984, pg 38-par 1).    

91.  Logging is removal of humus forming materials, which would have been important in regulating the incorporation of nitrogen into humic materials.  Because of its high cation exchange capacity and slow decomposition, so called rotten wood, or chemically altered wood, if you please, can retain available mineral nitrogen from throughfall and decomposition as well as organic nitrogen compounds mineralized within the wood chemical matrix (Maser, Tarrant, Trappe and Franklin, 1988, pg40-par2).    

92.  Logging is removing materials, which roots and mycorrhizae, of plant species that colonize decaying wood, use for its available nitrogen (Maser, Tarrant, Trappe and Franklin, 1988, pg40-par2).    

93.  Logging is altering humic acids, which slow decomposition reactions in soils.  (Shigo, 1999, pg110-#666)

94.  Logging is removing materials downed, which would have had a long-term input of nitrogen fixation

95.  Logging is altering a positive balance of nitrogen in the ecosystem.  Logging is removing the long term input by nitrogen fixation in falling trees as they are being chemically altered by the succession of microorganisms as well as organisms, which is a highly ordered arrangement.  And by canopy inhibiting lichens, which maintain such input (Maser, Tarrant, Trappe and Franklin, 1988, pg40-par3).    

96.  Logging is the removal of materials that would have had long-term potential for contributing nitrogen for tree growth as residual lignin and humus are decomposed (Maser, Tarrant, Trappe and Franklin, 1988, pg41-par1).   

97.  Logging is removing what would be equal to slow release fertilizer for once fertile forest (Many salts of essential elements over time).  With respect to tree maturity, habitats, both external and internal, are influenced by tree size – maturity (Internal Regulating System – Dynamic to Static Mass).  An uninterrupted supply of new, immature wood in young forests decomposes and recycles essential elements and energy rapidly. Habitats provided by the death of the symplast of young trees are short-lived and rapidly changing.  (E.g., specifically speaking, species of young trees, which produce protection wood such as heartwood, would have not formed heartwood).  In contrast, the less frequent, more irregular mortality of the symplast of large trees in old forests is analogous to slow-release fertilization. (Maser, Tarrant, Trappe and Franklin, 1988,pg44-par2).  Logging reduces the amount and quality of humus like materials.

98.  Logging is removing materials that in time would be decaying and would have contributed to long-term accumulation of soil organic matter, partly because the carbon constituents of the future well-decayed wood would have 80-90 percent residual lignin and humus (Maser, Tarrant, Trappe, and Franklin, 1988, pg44-par3).

99.  Logging is removing material that would be incorporated in the soil and would have aided the establishment of conifer seedlings and mycorrhizal fungi on dry sites.  (Maser, Tarrant, Trappe, and Franklin, 1988, pg44-par3).

100.  Logging is removing material that in time would have added to spatial, chemical, and biotic diversity of forest soils, and to the processes that maintain long-term forest productivity (Maser, Tarrant, Trappe, and Franklin, 1988. pg44-par3).

101.  I did not intend to address methods or other components of logging processes in this paper, just what is being removed and its chemistry.  As is logging within the ANF, machine is used for several treatments (sorry).  Machine entry on an area, which contains trees, reduces diversity because heavy equipment fragments and scatters class IV and V so called rotten wood.  Habitat diversity declines to a fraction of what had been available, probably fewer kinds of organisms can thrive.  Further, because woody substrates serve as long-term soil organic material and essential element reservoirs, increasingly intensive timber management, coupled with shorter rotations, could significantly alter the role of decaying wood in the essential element cycling processes (Maser and Trappe, 1984, pg 48-par 1).   

102.  Logging is removing critical material, which would have served for mycorrhizal fungi, which can colonize logs, presumably using them as sources of water and essential elements.  (Franklin, Cromack, Kermit, et al. others, 1981). 

103.  Logging is removing a significant factor in essential element cycling processes (Harmon et al. 1986; Caza 1993). Although the relative concentration of essential elements in wood and bark is low, much of the essential elements capital and carbon are stored here because of the large biomass involved (Harmon et al. 1986; Caza 1993) (Voller and Harrison, 1998).       

104.  Logging removes symplastless wood, which would have facilitated a slow release of essential elements, ameliorated leaching, and provided a growing substrate for bryophytes (Harmon et al. 1986; FEMAT 1993; Samuelsson et al. 1994) (Voller and Harrison, 1998).     

105.  Logging removes material that would buffer water and essential element release from duff and aboveground processes, especially processes such as nitrogen fixation in aboveground plants such as hepatics (Harmon et al. 1986; FEMAT 1993; Samuelsson et al. 1994) (Voller and Harrison, 1998).    

106.  Bacteria are very small. They do big things (Shigo, 1999, #216 pg34)

107.  Logging removes habitat for free-living bacteria, which in woody residues and soil wood fix 30-60% of the nitrogen in the forest soil. In addition, 20% of soil nitrogen is stored in these components (Harvey et al. 1987). Harmon et al. (1986) reported that CWD accounted for as much as 45% of aboveground stores of organic matter.  Symplastless wood in terrestrial ecosystems is a primary location for fungal colonization and often acts as refugia for mycorrhizal fungi during ecosystem disturbance (Triska and Cromack 1979; Harmon et al. 1986; Caza 1993) (Voller and Harrison, 1998).  

108.  Logging is removing one of the suspected, most important stages in essential element cycling by the colonization of symplastless wood by fungi and microbes (Caza 1993); however, these processes are still relatively poorly understood. In fact soil wood contains a disproportionate amount of the coniferous non-woody roots or ectomycorrhizae in forests (Harvey et al. 1987). As one of the dominant sources of organic matter, logging removes symplastless wood, which would have had an important determinant in soil formation and composition (Caza 1993) (Voller and Harrison, 1998) 

109.  Logging is removing symplastless wood which would have provided physical structure to the ecosystem and filled such roles as sediment storage (Wilford 1984), protecting the forest floor from mineral soil erosion and mechanical disturbance during harvesting activities (Voller and Harrison, 1998).            

110.  Logging removes material that would ameliorate the affects of cold air drainage on plants, helps stabilize slopes, and minimizes soil erosion (Maser et al. 1988) (Voller and Harrison, 1998).            

111.  Logging removes symplastless wood, which would provide elevated germination platforms with reduced duff fall accumulation and relatively consistent moisture regimes (Harmon et al. 1986; Maser et al. 1988; Caza 1993; D.F. Fraser, pers. comm., 1995) (Voller and Harrison, 1998).            

112.  Conclusion:  The capacity and ability, of CWD, to function as a nutrient and essential element storehouse, too often goes unobserved such as in the Painter Run Windthrow Salvage Project?  Technical reports clearly point out that the long term continuity of decaying trees are structural components of forests.  CWD are reservoirs for nutrients as well as essential elements for long periods of time.  CWD provides a source of energy and essential element flow.  Timber harvest and salvage after disturbances reduces pool of stable nutrients and essential elements. Symplastless trees are structural components of great importance for forest dynamics and forest biodiversity.  Many species of plants, fungi and animals are dependent on symplastless trees for nutrients, essential elements, habitat or substrate and nesting. The benefits and their persistence, in the cycling of essential elements and providing nutrients is a function which contributes to system health and a obligatory function to operate at a high quality state, i.e., operating about the means in which is was designed.  Therefore the removal of such materials that would provide a physical link – an essential element savings account – through time and across successional stages is not indicative or technically published to be, a treatment, which would protect or increase forest health.  In all honestly, it will reduce protection thus forest health as well.

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John A. Keslick, Jr.


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