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Over the past decade there has emerged a clear recognition that the escalating production of waste materials by society poses a serious problem, and that significant amounts of many waste materials must be recycled or disposed of by more ecologically integrated means. In Maine, we are fortunate to enjoy the benefits of a rural state rich in natural resources. It is these resources that provide the basis for many of our industries, well demonstrated by our forest resources so vital to the forest products industry and to Maine's economy.
In recent years forests have also been looked to as a source of wood fuel for power generating facilities, and this trend is likely to continue. These and other activities lead to the generation of waste materials that may be considered either effluents, sludges, solid waste, or ash. Some processes can create materials laden with toxic organic compounds or heavy metals that pose serious threats to the environment. Others are relatively "clean" and interest in land applications of these materials has increased due to the high costs of landfilling. While agricultural lands may provide a cost effective receptor site for waste materials, these soils also are a direct conduit to the human food chain and may not be advisable sites when questions remain over potential health risks associated with a particular waste. Thus some of our extensive forest lands in Maine are being considered as sites for waste application and disposal, which holds promise when carefully carried out based on a scientific understanding of forest ecosystem responses.
This bulletin offers some preliminary guidelines to serve as a starting point for the systematic assessment of the effects of ash and sludge application to northern New England forest soils.
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Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station
Systemic assessment, soil assessment, forest soil response, waste management, sludge application
Forest Management | Forest Sciences
Fernandez, Ivan J.. 1988. B818: Preliminary Protocols for Sampling and Analysis of Ash and Sludge Amended Forest Soils. Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station Bulletins 818.