Application of GPS Technology to Monitor Traffic Intensity and Soil Impacts in a Forest Harvest Operation
A study was initiated in the Winter of 1998 to examine the utility of employing Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to monitor harvest traffic throughout a loblolly pine plantation and utilize traffic intensity information to assess impacts of select soil physical properties. Traffic maps prepared from GPS positional data indicated the highest concentration of traffic intensities occurred in the landings and skid trails (11 or more) while approximately 94 percent of the site was subjected to 10 or less passes. Estimates of bulk density and gravimetric water content did not approach levels in any traffic intensity class considered to be restrictive to root penetration for either surface or subsurface layers. Soil strength levels for each traffic intensity dass in the surface layer did not indicate the presence of an impenetrable layer but subsoil modification may be necessary to provide a proper environment for regeneration.