Soil disturbances from horse/mule logging operations coupled with machines in the Southern United States
Forest harvesting with animals is a labor-intensive operation. While mechanized logging is very efficient for large tracts of timber, it is often disruptive to the soil. Small logging operations using animals may be less environmentally disruptive. To better understand horse/mule logging performances for soil disturbance, five different horse/mule harvesting operations were investigated.About 75 percent of the soil was undisturbed and 22 percent of the remaining soil disturbance was judged to be slight.Only 3 percent of the soil examinations were classified as deeply disturbed and rutted - a condition considered to be prone to soil erosion. This study suggests that horse and mule logging has low soil disturbance in a partial cut of mixed pine/hardwood forests.