Current issue: 53(2)
Under compilation: 53(3)
Physical soil properties have a marked influence on the quality of forest sites and on the preconditions for forest growth and management. In this study, water retention characteristics (WRC) and related physical soil properties in addition to vegetation coverage and tree stand data were studied at upland forest sites in Finland. Fixed and mixed models between soil and site characteristics were formed to estimate physical and hydrologic soil characteristics and the site quality with indirect co-varying variables. In the present data, the site quality index (H100) shows a high coefficient of determination in respect to the temperature sum. It is also related to soil fine fraction content, topsoil pH and water retention at field capacity. The thickness of the humus layer is predictable from the pH and cover of xeric and mesic plant species. The soil fine fraction content (clay + silt) is closely related to water retention at field capacity, the soil layer and site type, and without WRC to the temperature sum and site index and type, as well as the slope angle. The soil bulk density is related to organic matter, depth (layer) or alternatively to organic matter, slope and field estimated textural class (fine, medium, coarse). Water retention characteristics were found to be best determinable by the fine fraction content, depth and bulk density. Water content and air-filled porosity at field capacity are closely related to the fine fraction. This study provides novel models for further investigations that aim at improved prediction models for forest growth, hydrology and trafficability.
The possibilities of using microwave techniques in detecting the trafficability of peatlands is discussed. Three microwave methods were tested. 1) A FM-CW radar using 1.0–1.8 GHz frequency was used to measure the frost thickness of peat layer. It was possible to follow the variations in snow and frost layer thickness. Total reflected power might indicate the wetness class of the peatland, which is also a trafficability factor. 2) A short-pulse radar with 100 MHz frequency was tested in summer condition. Good profiling of peat layers was obtained, giving basic information for trafficability analysis. 3) A mapping of brightness of temperature of peatlands in summer conditions using a 790 MHz radiometer. The measured brightness temperature was correlated with vegetation cover, thus giving some information of trafficability.
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