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Soil Losses from Roadbeds and Cut and Fill Slopes in the Southern Appalachian Mountains

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Soil losses were measured on the cut, fill, and roadbed surfaces of a forest road at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory. Before grass was planted or gravel spread, roadbed surfaces had the least loss per unit area and loss was primarily waterborne fine particles. A large part of the soil loss from fill slopes was due to slippage of wet soils in early spring. Surface erosion of fills was negligible because storm water from the roadbed was not spilled across loose soil. The cut slopes eroded most, principally because soils were loosened by diurnal cycles of freezing and thawing in winter. This study shows that inclined surfaces of cut and fill slopes are potential sources of large soil loss but these losses can be mitigated by early establishment of grass cover and by design features to control storm water. Soil loss from roadbeds was greatly reduced by gravel surfacing.ยน
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Research forester, USDA Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, Otto, North Carolina 28763

Publication date: 1984-11-01

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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 Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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