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Soil Erosion in the Eastern Forest

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This paper provides an overview of what is known about forest soil erosion in eastern United States. By most accounts, erosion from undisturbed as well as carefully managed forest land is 0.05 to 0.10 ton/acre/year; that is less than the geologic norm (0.18 to 0.30) and far less than maximum tolerable rates for agricultural land (1 to 5 tons/acre/year). Eroded material is about equal parts of particulate and dissolved matter. Responsibly managed timber harvest causes only minor increases in forest soil erosion, usually from channels and logging roads, but irresponsible timber harvest can increase erosion of particulate matter to unacceptable levels.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Project Leader in Forest Hydrology Research, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, USDA Forest Service, Parsons, West Virginia

Publication date: October 1, 1976

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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