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The Impact of Timber Harvesting on Soil Properties and Seedling Growth in the South

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Mechanization of timber harvesting operations in the South has increased concern about the detrimental impact that heavy machine traffic has on soil physical properties and site productivity. Improperly timed harvesting operations have potentially detrimental effects on forest soils and the growth of seedlings Foresters and other land managers must be aware of the potential soil disturbance caused by heavy machines, and apply methods that minimize long-term site quality degradation attributable, directly or indirectly, to mechanized equipment. Research literature about the effects of timber harvesting on soil properties and seedling growth is summarized. Various types of harvesting equipment commonly used in the South are examined and the degrees of soil disturbance and compaction associated with each system are compared Changes in soil physical properties resulting from compaction are also reviewed as they relate to the establishment and growth of seedlings. Recommendations are made to minimize the detrimental effects of machine traffic on forest soils. South. J. Appl. For. 12(1):58-67
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Forestry & Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907

Publication date: 1988-02-01

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  • Important Notice: SAF's journals are now published through partnership with the Oxford University Press. Access to archived material will be available here on the Ingenta website until March 31, 2018. For new material, please access the journals via OUP's website. Note that access via Ingenta will be permanently discontinued after March 31, 2018. Members requiring support to access SAF's journals via OUP's site should contact SAF's membership department for assistance.

    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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