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
    Author(s): Brian M. Parkhurst; W. Michael Aust; M. Chad Bolding; Scott M. Barrett; Emily A. Carter
    Date: 2018
    Source: International Journal of Forest Engineering
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.0 MB)


    Ground-based timber harvesting systems are common in the United States. Harvesting machinery can negatively influence soils by increasing erosion and decreasing site productivity. Skid trails can become compacted and erosive. Slash applications to skid trails are effective for erosion control, yet few investigations have examined effects of slash on soil physical properties influenced by compaction. This research project has two objectives: (1) to compare and contrast the impacts of traffic resulting from a rubber-tired grapple skidder and a dozer using a variety of soil compaction indices, and (2) to compare effects of slash versus bare soil on skid trails trafficked by a rubber-tired grapple skidder and a dozer. The project was conducted within an upland hardwood/pine stand in the Ridge and Valley region. Skidder traffic changed both visual appearance and soil physical properties. The heavier skidder resulted in deeper visible ruts, greater increases in bulk density, and greater decreases in macro porosity when compared to the lighter dozer. This project also served as a pilot test for the AgTech sensor for forest trails. Results from sensors are briefly compared with traditional soil compaction indices. While no major relationships were found, the technology is promising for future research applications. Using slash as a means of ameliorating soil disturbance was not entirely conclusive as variation in cover had no effect on bulk density or porosity and mechanical resistance data were contradictory. Slash reduced increases in soil strength, and despite difference in sizes, the skidder and dozer resulted in similar changes in soil strength.

    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.


    Parkhurst, Brian M.; Aust, W. Michael; Bolding, M. Chad; Barrett, Scott M.; Carter, Emily A. 2018. Soil response to skidder trafficking and slash application. International Journal of Forest Engineering. 20: 1-10.


    Google Scholar


    forestry, machinery, skidding, soil compaction, rubber-tired, tracked

    Related Search

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