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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

The Impact of Harvesting and Site Preparation on the Physical Properties of Lower Coastal Plain Forest Soils1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 47 No. 3, p. 595-598
    Received: Aug 3, 1982
    Accepted: Jan 17, 1983

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  1. J. A. Gent Jr.,
  2. R. Ballard and
  3. A. E. Hassan2



The impact of intensive forest management practices on soil physical properties was examined by collecting intact, 7.6-cm diameter soil core samples to a depth of 30 cm before harvest, after harvest, and after site preparation in plots established in primary skid trails and areas receiving whole-tree and conventional tree-length harvesting treatments. Site preparation for all plots was shear, burn, chop, and bed. Harvesting increased bulk density and decreased aeration porosity in all sampled areas. Significant changes in these properties were detected to the 30-cm depth in the skid trail plots. However, significant changes in the whole-tree and tree-length plots were limited to the upper 15 cm of soil. Harvesting also significantly decreased saturated hydraulic conductivity to a depth of 8 cm in the skid trail plots and 15 cm in the tree-length plots but had no significant effect in the whole-tree plots. Bedding proved to be effective in offsetting soil compaction in the whole-tree and tree-length plots by forming a new soil surface, 19 cm in height, over the surface which was trafficked during harvest. Bedding may not be as effective in the skid trail plots because the soil found at the original surface under the bed was compacted to the extent that root growth may be inhibited.

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