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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (1994) 39(2): 19–22
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Research article
Is plantation forestry good or bad for soils?

C. T. Smith

Plantation forestry can be either good or bad for soils and site productivity. Plantation forestry is likely to improve soils where it results in increased nutrient availability; and to reduce soil quality where it leads to soil nutrient imbalances or depletion. Forests generally improve soil physical properties; however, machinery used for site preparation, establishment, and harvesting has the potential to reduce site productivity due to soil compaction and erosion. A classification system proposed for New Zealand soils and the potential for site degradation under plantation forestry provides a preliminary, conservative basis for preventing site productivity declines. The validity of this classification system is being tested at several locations throughout New Zealand.
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