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Evaluation of Bladed Skid Trail Closure Methods in the Ridge and Valley Region

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Forest roads and skid trails with inadequate best management practices (BMPs) often contribute the majority of erosion produced from forest harvesting operations. We evaluated soil erosion rates from bladed skid trails in the mountains of Virginia after a timber harvest. The randomized complete block design included six blocks, each containing four skid trail closure BMP treatments (waterbar only [Control], slash-covered [Slash], seeded [Seed], and seeded with fertilizer and mulch [Mulch]). Control treatments resulted in an average erosion rate of 6.8 tons ac−1 yr−1 (15.1 tonnes ha−1 yr−1) following installation. Seed treatments resulted in an average erosion rate of 2.6 tons ac−1 yr−1 (5.9 tonnes ha−1 yr−1). Mulch treatments averaged 0.5 ton ac−1 yr−1 (1.1 tonnes ha−1 yr−1), and Slash treatments averaged 0.4 ton ac−1 yr−1 (0.8 tonnes ha−1 yr−1). Seed, Mulch, and Slash treatments significantly reduced soil erosion rates in comparison to Control treatments (P = 0.0315), with Mulch and Slash treatments being most effective (P < 0.0001). Results indicate that ground cover treatments are beneficial in addition to waterbars for effective erosion control. A cost analysis indicates that Seed treatments are the most cost-effective ($2771.89/mi); however, on a basis of erosion prevented, Slash treatments were the most cost-effective ($73.65/ton).
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Keywords: BMP costs; best management practices (BMPs); forest harvesting; soil erosion

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 9, 2017

This article was made available online on March 2, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Evaluation of Bladed Skid Trail Closure Methods in the Ridge and Valley Region".

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