Review Paper

A review of management impacts on the soil productivity of South African commercial forestry plantations and the implications for multiple-rotation productivity

Published in: Southern Forests: a Journal of Forest Science
Volume 75, issue 4, 2013 , pages: 169–183
DOI: 10.2989/20702620.2013.858210
Author(s): Louis TitshallInstitute for Commercial Forestry Research, South Africa, Steven DoveyInstitute for Commercial Forestry Research, South Africa, Diana RietzInstitute for Commercial Forestry Research, South Africa


An overview of southern African research that has investigated the impact of management practices that can potentially affect the long-term site productivity of plantations is presented, with an emphasis of these impacts on soil productivity and with the implications for multiple-rotation site productivity. Activities that are most likely to cause long-term changes in soil productivity are identified as those causing high site disturbance during the inter-rotation period, notably ground-based mechanised operations and harvest residue management (including complete biomass removal) and, under some conditions, fertilisation. The impacts of these practices on soil and stand productivity are discussed from a southern African perspective. Knowledge gaps are identified and it is suggested that the immediate research priority is to identify meaningful indicators that are sensitive to change and that can be linked to stand production. Other key research focus areas are proposed and the need for a permanent long-term monitoring network is highlighted.

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