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    The degree and extent of soil compaction, which may reduce productivity of forest soils, is believed to vary by the type of harvesting system, and a field-based study was conducted to compare soil compaction from cut-to-length (CTL) and whole-tree (WT) harvesting operations. The CTL harvesting system used less area to transport logs to the landings than did the WT harvesting system (19%-20% vs. 24%-25%). At high soil moisture levels (25%-30%), both CTL and WT harvestings caused a significant increase of soil resistance to penetration (SRP) and bulk density (BD) in the track compared with the undisturbed area (p < 0.05). In the center of trails, however, only WT harvesting resulted in a significant increase of SRP and BD compared with the undisturbed area (p < 0.05). Slash covered 69% of the forwarding trail area in the CTL harvesting units; 37% was covered by heavy slash (40 kg⋅m-2) while 32% was covered by light slash (7.3 kg⋅m-2). Heavy slash was more effective in reducing soil compaction in the CTL units (p < 0.05). Prediction models were developed that can be used to estimate percent increases in SRP and BD over undisturbed areas for both CTL and WT harvesting systems.

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    Han, Sang-Kyun; Han-Sup, Han; Page-Dumroese, Deborah; Johnson, Leonard R. 2009. Soil compaction associated with cut-to-length and whole-tree harvesting of a coniferous forest. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 39: 976-989.


    soil compaction, harvesting, cut-to-length (CTL), whole-tree (WT)

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