12. Coarse Woody Debris –Soil Erosion, Soil Mixing and Churning
367. We especially need to know more about the fallen tree – soil
interface, probably the single most important habitat and potential niche
for the survival of organisms in drastically altered systems (Maser and Trappe,
368. Fallen trees that are oriented along the contours of a slope seem
to be used more by vertebrates than are trees oriented across contours, especially
on steep slopes. Large, stable trees lying along contours help reduce erosion
by forming "a barrier to creeping and raveling soils (Maser and Trappe, 1984
369. Woody duff, 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
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-par2).
370. The logs being removed would otherwise serve a key role as erosion
control and animal activity (Page-Dumroese, Harvey, Jurgensen and Graham,
371. Debris has many functions ranging from soil protection to wildlife
and microbial habitat. The management of coarse woody debris is critical
for maintaining functioning ecosystems (Graham, Harvey, Jurgensen, Jain,
Tonn and Page-Dumroese, 1994).
372. Coarse woody debris can be incorporated into the surface soil
horizon as freezing and thawing cycles move CWD into the soil. Additionally,
CWD can be covered as soil moves downhill. Depending on the forest type,
large amounts can be left in the form of decaying tree woody roots.
All of these materials, in the advanced stages of decay, can be active parts
of the soil system as soil wood (Carbon Based Cellulose). Because CWD
is an important component of a functioning ecosystem, a portion of this material
must be maintained. As the demand for forest products and the ability to
utilize more fiber increases, less material is being left after timber harvesting
or after salvage operations. These operations, in combination with past practices
of slash disposal and site preparation, have reduced organic material in
the forest floor, making CWD management critical (Harvey and others 1987).
Consequently, recommendations for maintaining CWD for different ecosystems
and forest types are needed (Graham, Harvey, Jurgensen, Jain, Tonn and Page-Dumroese,
373. Symplastless wood is also the dominant store of organic matter
in stream ecosystems (Harmon et al. 1986); as such, it is an important source
of essential element and organic matter input. Symplastless wood traps leaf
and duff within aquatic systems, which extends the length of time this material
remains and provides essential elements through decomposition (Triska and
Cromack 1979; Harmon et al. 1986). Symplastless wood provides physical structure
to the ecosystem and fills such roles as sediment storage (Wilford 1984),
protecting the forest floor from mineral soil erosion and mechanical disturbance
during harvesting activities. It ameliorates the affects of cold air drainage
on plants, helps stabilize slopes, and minimizes soil erosion (Maser et al.
1988). Symplastless wood provides 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).
In stream ecosystems it protects stream banks from erosion and maintains
channel stability (Triska and Cromack 1979; Sedell et al. 1988). Features
that influence the ability of CWD to fulfill these functions include size
(length and diameter), whether roots are still attached, orientation, degree
of burial, and proportion of the piece that remains submerged (Sedell et
al. 1988) (Voller and Harrison, 1998).
374. Conclusion: What purpose and need is there, that the function
of soil protection and churning with respect to forest (system) health go
unobserved has it is in the “Burn and Clearcut Project”. Claims that
system health will increase by this product – processes – function being
removed, is absurd. What it clearly shows, is there is a purpose and
a need to correct past false promise based treatments, which are still being
used as a foundation for treatments proposed and approved in the “Burn and
Clearcut Project”. Sound science, with respect to system health needs
to be considered in order to protect this once fertile forest, i.e., including
but not limited too – animals and plants as well as fungi diversity and their
connections and functions
What need and purpose is there to remove materials that would have functioned
for more than 200 years and when removed the system would have to recover
and then take at least 100 – 200 years to replace the mass which than would
take 200 or more years to function functions as CWD? That would only
be true is the system was growing back just the way it was before harvest.
Data shows that it not.
375. Something to think about: By removing trees in the “Burn
and Clearcut Project” future uprooting and churning, will be severely reduced.
376. The uprooting of trees lifts and mixes soil of the once fertile
forest, an important ecological process. In some areas soil churning
by the woody roots of wind thrown trees retards development in the soil of
impervious layers of mineral deposits, known as iron pan. Without these
processes, standing pools of water would eventually produce swampy forest
sites (Franklin, Shugart and Harmon, 1987, pg 551).
377. When it comes to ecological stages of trees and their importance
with respect to forest health, in scooping, the USFS replies we do not foster
those ideas or concepts here. Here being the timber sale project.
What parts and processes of the system do they foster?
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