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Soil Impact Assessment for Forestry

I developed this field-based, statistical method for monitoring the impacts of logging on forest soils of the Inland Pacific Northwest. I worked 5 years as a Soil Scientist for the Colville Reservation in north-central Washington State. Forests there are primarily Ponderosa pine - Douglas fir - Subalpine fir - Grand fir in a formerly glaciated, mountainous landscape and ash-capped granitic soils (mesic-frigid-cryic), the depth of which varied greatly with aspect.

Survey of a given harvest block using this method takes approximately 45 minutes. You traverse the block on foot and collect data at each of about 300 "stations" (places you stop and look what's beneath your feet). You carry only a field book and the classification sheet in your pocket (see PDF below). You can choose to simply total up the results or go a step further and do the quick statistical calcuation (chi square) to add a bit more validity to your work.

It is an efficient, accurate, and repeatable monitoring method that can be used to a.) quantify soil disturbance following harvest, b.) assess the differences in soil impacts by different harvest machinery (grapple skidder vs. harvester-processor vs. helicopter), c.) compare skill and conscientiousness of specific equipment operators/contractors, and d.) aid long range forest planning efforts.

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