Tanya Turk 

MSc Candidate, 2004-

Influence of bigleaf maple on forest floor chemical properties and microbial community structure in conifer forests

Bigleaf maple is the only tree-size maple in British Columbia, and is one of the major broadleaf species in the province (Thomas and Comeau 1999). Until recently, bigleaf maple has been regarded as a weed species and managed to reduce its presence in forests. To date, limited research has been conducted to examine the impact of the bigleaf maple on conifer forests.

This study was designed with paired plots so that the extent of impact of bigleaf maple on soil properties and nutrient inputs could be examined and compared with plots in which the species was absent. Paired plots were used so that results obtained from bigleaf maple plots could be correlated with plots dominant in Douglas fir.

Research Objectives:

1. Assess the extent of impact of bigleaf maple litter fall on nutrient inputs in a conifer forest.

2. Examine the rate of bigleaf maple litter decay and nutrient release and compare these rates to those of Douglas fir. Will the addition of bigleaf maple litter accelerate the decomposition of conifer litter?

3. Assess the extent of bigleaf maple influence on soil chemical properties and nutrient availability in the forest floor and mineral soil of a conifer forest.