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Soil Response to Forest Clearing in the United States and the Tropics: Geological and Biological Factors

Julia C. Allen
Biotropica
Vol. 17, No. 1 (Mar., 1985), pp. 15-27
DOI: 10.2307/2388373
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2388373
Page Count: 13
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Soil Response to Forest Clearing in the United States and the Tropics: Geological and Biological Factors
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Abstract

Twenty-six cross-sectional and time series studies of soil properties under natural forest and altered vegetation in the United States and ten tropical countries were examined to determine the changes associated with forest clearing. Organic C, total N, exchangeable Ca, Mg, and K, cation exchange capacity, available P, bulk density, and pH were considered. After forest clearing, only bulk density and available P tended to return to preclearing levels. Losses of organic C, total N, and cation exchange capacity were 50 percent larger in soils developed on highly weathered parent materials in the tropics than in the same soils in the United States or in soils developed on young parent materials. Differences in soil response to clearing were related to local effects of temperature, rainfall, vegetation type, and soil acidity on organic matter decomposition.

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