Low-cost forest operation systems that minimize environmental impacts of harvesting
Forest operation systems have been developed for mixed pine and hardwood stands in the Piedmont region of the southeastern United States that reduce the cost and environmental impacts of forest operations. This has been done by studying the interrelations of forest operations with site edaphic properties and the biology of plant communities that reside on each site. In a region of highly erodible soils, forest operation systems are being examined for their effects on soil movement and stand dynamics of pine and hardwood mixtures. Testing of felling residual stems and post-harvest fire prescriptions affect subsequent fire intensity and severity. Soil and forest floor moisture strongly affect forest floor consumption by the fire., which in turn affects soil movement. Timing of the residual felling and the post-harvest fire also affect the competitive status of natural and artificial regeneration. Preliminary results are reported that show the potential of using a vegetation-derived ecological classification model to link harvesting prescriptions to physical characteristics of the site.