Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    Maintaining site productivity on forested lands within the National Forest System is a Federal mandate. To meet this mandate, soil conditions on timber harvest units within the Northern Region of the USDA Forest Service cannot exceed a threshold of 15% areal extent of detrimental soil disturbance (DSD; defined as a combination of compaction, puddling, rutting, burning, erosion, and displacement). The objectives of this study were to collate post-harvest soil monitoring data and to statistically document the areal extent of DSD resulting from timber harvest systems in the Northern Region. Current and legacy post-harvest soil monitoring data on National Forests throughout the Northern Region were collected to determine whether timber harvest systems (ground-based, skyline, or helicopter) used in the Northern Region result in DSD levels in excess of the mandated 15% areal extent. Statistical models developed in this study showed significant differences in the areal extent of DSD following timber harvest operations among ground-based, skyline, and helicopter harvest systems; among harvest seasons; and among National Forests. The frequency of DSD harvest operations followed the general trend of ground-based>skyline>helicopter. Winter ground-based harvest resulted in a significantly lower areal extent of DSD than summer ground-based harvest. Differences among Forests may have been caused by unique physiographic and ecological characteristics and distinct survey methods. However, despite significant differences in the amount of DSD resulting from similar timber harvest systems, none of the harvest systems that we evaluated on the National Forests consistently resulted in mean disturbance levels in excess of the 15% areal extent threshold.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Reeves, Derrick; Page-Dumroese, Deborah; Coleman, Mark. 2011. Detrimental soil disturbance associated with timber harvest systems on National Forests in the Northern Region. Res. Pap. RMRS-RP-89. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 12 p.


    Google Scholar


    displacement, compaction, ground-based logging, skyline, helicopter, areal extent

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page