Ground-based operations are a key part of dry forest restoration projects given their relatively reasonable costs and efficiencies. However, such operations can cause undesirable soil compaction and, on steeper slopes, increased risks of soil disturbance and erosion as well as concerns about safety and efficiency. Federal and state agency policies and guidelines include specific restrictions or resource protection standards to limit soil compaction and disturbance, including directives that generally discourage ground-based operations in steep terrain.
This presentation highlighted and discussed key planning considerations and operational influences that help reduce or avoid soil impacts with ground-based operations. This included the use of more sophisticated ground-based machines, combined with careful harvest planning and layout that have shown very encouraging results in some recent operations on sites with slopes well beyond the common 35 percent limit for ground-based systems. The goal was to show that close attention to important planning and operational principles, as well as unique site-specific conditions, can go a long way towards ensuring both efficient and environmentally friendly treatments, even in steep terrain.