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The forest ecosystem of southeast Alaska: 5. Soil mass movement.Author(s): Douglas N. Swanston
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-017. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 27 p
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionResearch in southeast Alaska has identified soil mass movement as the dominant erosion process, with debris avalanches and debris flows the most frequent events on characteristically steep, forested slopes. Periodically high soil water levels and steep slopes are controlling factors. Bedrock structure and the rooting characteristics of trees and other vegetation exert a strong influence on relative stability of individual sites. Timber harvesting operations have a major impact on initiation and acceleration of these movements. The cutting of timber itself has been directly linked with accelerated mass movements, and the accumulation of debris in gullies and canyons has been identified as a major contributor to the formation of large-scale debris flows or debris torrents. The limited road construction on steeper slopes thus far has had a relatively small impact. Effective management practices on such terrain consist of identification and avoidance of the most unstable areas and careful control of forest harvesting operations in questionable zones.
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CitationSwanston, Douglas N. 1974. The forest ecosystem of southeast Alaska: 5. Soil mass movement. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-017. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 27 p
Keywordserosion, forest damage, southeast Alaska
- Slope stability problems associated with timber harvesting in mountainous regions of the western United States.
- Erosional consequences of timber harvesting: An appraisal
- Subsurface drainage erodes forested granitic terrane
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