Science You Can Use (in 5 min) publication:
It is impossible to avoid disturbing the forest when harvesting timber. Trees are felled, and soil is compacted beneath heavy equipment during harvest operations. Yet on many sites, the landscape recovers. A year later, a future forest may already be growing, with saplings and shrubs reclaiming the open ground. Even the soil recovers, as the results of a 22-year monitoring study in western Montana have shown. This finding is contrary to what was the accepted assumption, that compacted soils take a long time to recover, if at all, which in turn affects forest productivity.