Humus Index as an indicator of forest stand and soil properties

Abstract : The Humus Index, based on the visual assessment of topsoil horizons and a classification of humus forms, is a numerical score which can be used as a correlate of stand and soil properties. In oak stands from the Montargis forest (Loiret, France) we observed a good linear relationship of the Humus Index with most parameters describing stand development (age, basal area (BA), height and diameter at breast height of dominants) and soil type (depth of clay horizon). The relationship with parameters describing nutrient availability (exchangeable bases, base saturation) was similarly good but nonlinear. In the studied forest the Humus Index was affected first by stand age and second by soil type. When corrected for age and soil type, data (96 pooled estimates) indicated a slight decrease in the Humus Index (shift towards more active humus forms) in stands converted from old coppices-with-standards when compared with even-aged high forest.
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Contributor : Jean-François Ponge <>
Submitted on : Friday, June 25, 2010 - 5:43:36 PM
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Jean-François Ponge, Richard Chevalier. Humus Index as an indicator of forest stand and soil properties. Forest Ecology and Management, Elsevier, 2006, 233 (1), pp.165-175. ⟨10.1016/j.foreco.2006.06.022⟩. ⟨hal-00495387⟩



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