Forest floor nutrient properties in single- and mixed-species, second growth stands of western hemlock and western redcedar
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Forest floors in single- and mixed-species stands of western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) and western redcedar (Thuja plicata) in the coastal forest of southern British Columbia, Canada, were examined with respect to acidity (pH), and concentrations of total C, total N, mineralizable-N, and total Ca, Mg, K, P, and S. Using four properties (pH and total C, N, and Ca), canonical discriminant analysis separated forest floors of hemlock and redcedar stands, with mixed-species stands overlapping those of each single-species stand. Despite interactions between stand type and location, several properties were significantly different or showed clear trends between stand types. Forest floor pH, and concentrations of mineralizable-N, total Ca, and total K increased, while concentrations of total C and S decreased in the order from hemlock to hemlock-redcedar to redcedar stands. These results are consistent with other studies and suggest that forest floor decomposition and nutrient availability increase with increasing presence of redcedar.