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Northern Research Station
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726
(608) 231-9318
(608) 231-9544 TTY/TDD

Sustaining Forests

Soil Compaction/Disturbance

[image:] Typical cable skidder equipped with high flotation tires.Research Issue

All harvesting operations cause some soil compaction, but the degree of compaction varies with harvesting equipment, techniques, intensity, and soil properties, especially moisture content and texture.  Soil compaction and disturbance may lead to erosion and sedimentation.  The degree of soil compaction also varies with the number of times a loaded/unloaded machine travels over a given path (traffic intensity) and the payload.  High levels of compaction can lead to reduced growth of young and larger trees in the residual stand. 

Our Research

This study focuses on quantifying and documenting how traffic intensity and payload of typical rubber-tired cable skidders affects soil and residual stand growth in the hardwood region.  An economic analysis will be conducted to evaluate the losses due to reduce stand growth caused by compaction. 

Expected Outcomes

The results will provide guidelines for locating skid trails and landings to help mitigate the impacts of compaction.  The results should be valuable to landowners, planners, loggers, and policy/decision makers.

Research Results

Wang, Jingxin; LeDoux, Chris B.; Edwards, Pam; Jones, Mike.  2005.  Soil bulk density changes caused by mechanized harvesting:  a case study in central Appalachia.   Forest Products Journal:  55(11): 37-40.

Wang, Jingxin; LeDoux, Chris B.; Edwards, Pam.  2007.  Changes in soil bulk density resulting from construction and conventional cable skidding using preplanned skid trails.   Northern Journal of Applied Forestry:  24(1): 5-8.

Research Participants

Principal Investigators

  • Dr. Chris B. LeDoux, US Forest Service- Northern Research Station Industrial Engineer (Retired)

Research Partners

  • Dr. Jingxin Wang, West Virginia University

For More Information

  • Toni Jones, US Forest Service - Northern Research Station, Computer Programmer


Last Modified: 03/03/2016