iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Short-term effects in canopy gap area on the recovery of compacted soil caused by forest harvesting in old-growth Oriental beech (Fagus orientalis Lipsky) stands

Meghdad Jourgholami (1)   , Jahangir Feghhi (1), Farzam Tavankar (2), Francesco Latterini (3), Rachele Venanzi (4), Rodolfo Picchio (4)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 14, Issue 4, Pages 370-377 (2021)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor3432-014
Published: Aug 10, 2021 - Copyright © 2021 SISEF

Research Articles

Natural treefall gaps have a substantial role in maintaining soil and plant diversity in old-growth forests. However, the amount of information on the effects of gaps on the recovery of physical and chemical properties of compacted soils is scarce. We tested the hypothesis that natural treefall gaps accelerate the restoration of compacted soil by enhancing biological and microbial activity in the topsoil after a period of five years. Five years after a ground-based skidding operation in the Hyrcanian forest, the recovery levels of soil properties were compared among different treatments including natural canopy gaps with an area of 200 m2 (NCG), clear-cuts with an area of 1600 m2 (CC), disturbed trails under a dense canopy (DDC), and an undisturbed area (UND) as control. The lowest soil bulk density (1.07 g cm-3), penetration resistance (1.11 MPa), and the highest macroporosity (36.3%), and sand content (14.4%) among treatments were recorded for the NCG followed by DDC and CC treatments. Significantly lower values of soil pH, and electric conductivity and the highest values of soil organic C, total N, available P, K, Ca, and Mg were detected under the NCG followed by the DDC and CC treatments, as compared to the UND area. The highest values of earthworm density and dry mass, and soil microbial respiration were found in the NCG followed by the DDC and CC treatments. Fine root biomass was significantly higher in the UND area (92.27 g m-2) followed by the DDC, NCG and CC treatments. We can conclude that the effects of gap size on the recovery values of compacted soil were significant in terms of greater nutrient availability and higher earthworm density and dry mass, suggesting that mimicking natural canopy gap was more effective than the clear-cut gap (CC) for the resilience of the forest stand in the restoration of soil quality.


Canopy Gap Area, Timber Extraction, Skid Trails, Soil Compaction, Forest Soil Recovery, Earthworm, Hyrcanian Forest

Authors’ address

Meghdad Jourgholami 0000-0003-3676-278X
Jahangir Feghhi 0000-0003-2253-5789
Department of Forestry and Forest Economics, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Alborz, Karaj (Iran)
Farzam Tavankar 0000-0002-2308-0934
Department of Forestry, Khalkhal Branch, Islamic Azad University (Iran)
Francesco Latterini 0000-0001-7401-8754
Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria - CREA, Centro di Ricerca Ingegneria e Trasformazioni Agroalimentari, v. della Pascolare 16, I-00015 Monterotondo, RM (Italy)
Rachele Venanzi 0000-0003-2689-1801
Rodolfo Picchio 0000-0002-9375-7795
Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Tuscia, I-01100 Viterbo (Italy)

Corresponding author

Meghdad Jourgholami


Jourgholami M, Feghhi J, Tavankar F, Latterini F, Venanzi R, Picchio R (2021). Short-term effects in canopy gap area on the recovery of compacted soil caused by forest harvesting in old-growth Oriental beech (Fagus orientalis Lipsky) stands. iForest 14: 370-377. - doi: 10.3832/ifor3432-014

Academic Editor

Angelo Nolè

Paper history

Received: Apr 02, 2020
Accepted: Jun 20, 2021

First online: Aug 10, 2021
Publication Date: Aug 31, 2021
Publication Time: 1.70 months

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