Soil Maintenance Practices and Logging

soil erosion prevention
Conducting an environmentally responsible timber harvest is a multifaceted process. Our company works with land owners to create an appropriate harvesting plan that suits the needs to meet their environmental, financial and aesthetic goals of the landowner. Many times, part of a solid forest management plan includes discussion about proper soil maintenance after logging of your timber is completed.

Where Timber Works Excels

The key consideration our company makes when planning a logging operation is longevity. In short, the process of logging and the considerations taken by the logging crew will have a direct impact on how quickly you'll be able to harvest your timber again. This will also determine the impact to wildlife and overall future quality of the timber your woods will be able to grow. A properly harvested woods will grow back quicker and have higher quality trees.
A properly harvested woods will grow back quicker and have higher quality trees.
Timber Works employs team members with specific training in soil maintenance and conservation. This is how, when necessary, our crew goes to work, above and beyond the timber harvesting operation, to ensure your soil integrity has not been compromised and the woods will quickly rebound from our operation. This can be an important component of ensuring the future integrity of your forest.

Caring for the Soil

The forest floor is one of the most significant indicators of the health of a timber stand. This is where, in a properly managed woods, sunlight is scarce and seedlings get their start. A thick canopy keeps undergrowth at bay, allowing seedlings to get a proper start and continue the never-ending turnover of the forest. The diverse array of plant, animal and insect fauna work to break down nutrients for the trees, that in turn provide habitat and ecosystem for a wide range of organisms. Anchoring this complex ecosystem is the soil.

Regardless of the care with which a logging company harvests your trees, logging upsets the base of soil in the forest which in turn damages the roots of the trees. When roots are damaged, their roots die and begin to break down, causing soil to become looser and more porous. Without the appropriate measures this can cause serious erosion problems after a logger has left.

Logging activities also remove the protective layer of leaf litter and humus that covers the forest floor. This coating is important as it porous and semi-permeable, diffusing the energy of rand drops and allowing them to slowly filter into the soil below. Absent this layer, heavy rains are not absorbed by the soil and water instead flows over the surface of the ground, causing erosion.

Effects of Soil Erosion

Soil erosion has the potential to pollute water. Sediment that washes away from the forest floor often ends up in streams, rivers and other waterways, carrying pollutants such as fertilizers and pesticides used in agriculture, leaked automobile fluids and any other toxins that may be present into the water supplies of important wildlife habitats as well as drinking water reserves.

Though they are almost unheard of in this region, in extreme cases severe soil erosion can lead to land slides, often damaging property and endangering lives.

Soil erosion is bad for the environment and bad for the forest. That's why Timber Works strives to minimize the overall effects of our logging activities in the woods, right down to taking preventative measures to combat soil erosion once we've left the site.

Steps to Prevent Soil Erosion

While it is impossible to conduct a logging operation without some soil disturbance, some specific steps can be taken to speed along the recovery of the soil and forest as a whole. The basic methods for preventing soil erosion include planting vegetation, installing geotextiles, retention walls and adding mulch to the surface of the soil.

Sometimes the installation of a silt fence is necessary to prevent erosion.

Vegetation will naturally regrow in the woods, but in certain situations, seeding an area after logging has taken place will give the forest floor a head start. Vegetation grows roots into the soil that keep the ground intact. The plants help replace the protective barrier that has been removed by cutting roads and other earth-moving activities. Adding a mulching layer on top of the freshly seeded ground protects the land from erosion while the plants have time to become established. While rarely necessary in logging, geotextiles and retention walls can be combined with vegetation to reinforce the soil protecting properties of each. The degree to which soil erosion is a concern and should be weighted in a forest management plan depends heavily on the terrain and grade of the forest in question.

Trust Your Land to the Best

Contact Timber Works today to discuss a plan for harvesting your timber that considers both the financial return from the timber sale as well as the continued health and vibrancy of your land.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.