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Compaction and Rutting During Harvesting Affect Better Drained Soils More Than Poorly Drained Soils on Wet Pine Flats

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Soil compaction and rutting (puddling) are visually distinct types of wet-site harvesting disturbances; however, the way in which they affect soil physical properties and hydrology is not well documented. Three compacted and three rutted sites were evaluated to determine the effects of the disturbances on soil physical and hydrologic properties. For each site, primary skid trails and nontrafficked areas were compared. Both compaction and rutting increased bulk density, and reduced macropore space and saturated hydraulic conductivity. Water tables and reducing conditions were closer to the soil surface within the primary skid trails. For the compacted and rutted skid trails, changes were greatest on sites that initially had better drainage and aeration. Compacted sites may prove easier to mitigate with site preparation than rutted sites due to the shallower nature of the disturbances and drier site conditions that will facilitate mechanical mitigation. Submitted to South. J. Appl. For. 18(2):72-77.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: USDA Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, Charleston, South Carolina

Publication date: 1995-05-01

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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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