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Timber Harvesting

Slash Treatment and Site Preparation

    Slash Treatment and Site Preparation
  • Use brush blades on dozers when piling slash. Avoid use of dozers with angle blades.
  • Scarify the soil only to the extent necessary to meet the reforestation objective of the site. Site preparation equipment producing irregular surfaces is preferred. Care should be taken to preserve the surface soil horizon.
  • Low slash and small brush should be left to slow surface runoff, return soil nutrients, and provide shade for seedlings.
  • Carry out brush piling and scarification when soils are frozen or dry enough to minimize compaction and displacement.
  • Minimize or eliminate elongated exposure of soils up and down the slope during mechanical scarification. Carry out scarification on steep slopes in a manner that minimizes erosion.

  • The question. "How much soil exposure is enough?" is common when preparing a site for a new forest. Clean as a parking lot (below) is too much. New forests need the nutrients and protection supplied by logging slash. Soil compaction is another problem with sweeping the forest clean.

    When you pick handful of forest soil, half of it is solid material. The rest is empty pore space that holds water and air. Heavy equipment can squeeze soil pores, reducing the space for water and air for trees need water and air for growth, the start of the next forest can suffer from soil compaction.
    Certain soil conditions are more likely to lead to compaction. Wet soils are more compactible than dry. The most severe compaction occurs within a few inches of the surface. Unfortunately, that's where seed germination occurs and where most of the water-absorbing tree roots are found.

    The law requires fire hazard reduction of slash. In the two scenes below, one shows acceptable slash reduction (top); the other Is not acceptable because too much fire hazard was left.

    Regeneration of a New Forest often requires the removal of some logging slash. Seed from nearby trees germinates best in exposed mineral soil. Scarification must expose bare soil for new seedlings, while avoiding erosion. The three scenes below show mechanical scarification; inadequate (top), acceptable (middle), and excessive (bottom).

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Idaho Forest Products Commission
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