The Effect of Windthrow Disturbance and Salvage Logging on Nutrient Cycling in a Coniferous Forest Ecosystem

EPA Grant Number: U915593
Title: The Effect of Windthrow Disturbance and Salvage Logging on Nutrient Cycling in a Coniferous Forest Ecosystem
Investigators: Rumbaitis-del Rio, Cristina M.
Institution: University of Colorado at Boulder
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: August 1, 1999 through August 1, 2002
Project Amount: $83,232
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Ecology and Ecosystems


The objective of this research project is to characterize the short-term effects of large-scale windthrow disturbance and subsequent salvage logging activities on forest nutrient cycles. The study site is the Routt National Forest in Northern Colorado. This mature, spruce-fir forest experienced a large (>8,000 hectares) windthrow disturbance in October 1997. A portion of the blowdown has been salvage-logged over the past 2 years.


Experimental plots will be installed in August 1999 in areas of intact forest, areas of blowdown forest, and in recently salvage-logged areas. Soil samples will be collected from each plot to measure the following physical and chemical properties of the soil: soil moisture, soil organic matter content, carbon to nitrogen ratio, carbon concentration, nitrogen concentration, pH, and soil texture. Furthermore, nitrogen mineralization rates will be calculated in each plot using the in situ buried bag method for August through November 1999.

Expected Results:

It is expected that nitrogen availability will be lower in logged areas relative to areas of intact forest and areas of blowdown forest; this nutrient may be a factor limiting forest growth. Furthermore, the results of this study are expected to help elucidate the controls on the biogeochemical response to natural and anthropogenic landscape disturbances.

Supplemental Keywords:

disturbance, biogeochemistry, windthrow, blowdown, logging, nitrogen mineralization., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, Geochemistry, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology and Ecosystems, Agronomy, Ecological Indicators, anthropogenic stresses, logging, biogeochemical indicators, land cover, land use effects, forest ecosystems, nitrogen cycling, anthropogenic effects, windthrow disturbance, ecological assessment, logging effects, nutrient cycling, biochemical indicators, ecological research, land use, nitrogen

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2000
  • 2001
  • Final