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Winter Logging and Erosion in a Ponderosa Pine Forest in Northeastern Oregon

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Trees are often harvested in small woodlots for the dual purpose of generating revenue and expanding or enhancing woodland pasture for livestock and wildlife. Following such an effort, in a two-part study we compared the runoff and erosion potential in harvested and nonharvested sites. The tree harvest was conducted on snow and frozen soil and used prescribed skid trails. In the first part of the study, runoff plots were installed and monitored for 2 winters and 1 summer to determine if runoff and erosion resulting from natural precipitation events occurred from either of two treatments; a harvested site or a comparable nonharvested site. In the second part of the study, simulated rainfall was applied to a separate set of runoff plots to determine endpoint infiltration capacity and to make projections of infiltration and erosion response to anticipated livestock grazing. Rainfall was applied to each plot at three subsequent levels of ground cover manipulation: undisturbed vegetation, clipped vegetation, and vegetation and organic soil horizon removed. No runoff or sediment production was recorded between September 1986 and December 1987 in either harvested or nonharvested treatments in the plots monitoring response to natural rainfall. In addition, runoff and sediment production did not occur as a result of simulated rainfall in either site regardless of the ground cover treatment. The same result was obtained when rainfall was applied for an extended period and at an increased rate of application. The lack of runoff can be attributed to site conditions, especially the well-developed biomass in the upper soil horizons, and the method and season of logging. If the tree harvest procedures are repeated in similar sites, similar results may be expected. West. J. Appl. For. 8(1):19-23.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Rangeland Resources, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331

Publication date: 1993-01-01

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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 Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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