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A Comparison of Soil Compaction Associated with Four Ground-Based Harvesting Systems

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A study of soil compaction associated with four harvesting systems—a forwarder working with a mechanized harvester and a rubber-tired cable skidder, a farm tractor, and a bulldozer, each of them coupled with a chainsaw felling—was conducted in a group selection harvest of a mixed hardwood stand in Maine. The bulldozer system was associated with the highest percentage differences in soil bulk density measured in machine tracks (16.9%), trail centerlines (15.7%), and harvested group selection units (13.1%) versus adjacent untrafficked areas, whereas the forwarder system was associated with the lowest percentage differences in soil bulk density measured in machine tracks (3.5%), trail centerlines (1.2%), and harvested group selection units (6.3%) versus adjacent untrafficked areas. Results will help to inform loggers and foresters on equipment selection, harvest planning, and the conservation of forest soils and soil productivity.
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Keywords: group selection harvest; logging; soil bulk density

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-12-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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