ISSN: 0041-3216

ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 51 Number 2
Research Papers
Influence of mechanical forest clearing on soil conditions and the resulting effects on root growth
R. Van Der Weert
Land clearing with heavy machinery can greatly influence physical and chemical soil properties. The changes in soil conditions, which are mainly caused by structural deterioration and topsoil removal, may greatly affect soil suitability for crop growth. Root room, which undoubtedly is an important factor in determining this suitability, is clearly detrimentally affected. Mechanical impedance to root growth can be significantly increased by soil compaction, resulting in a shallow root system or a great reduction in root density. The avoidance of structural deterioration as far as possible implies that clearing operations, and especially windrowing, should be scheduled more in accordance with rainfall. Burning should preferably take place before windrowing and the windrow distance should be kept at a minimum. Care must be taken not to disturb the topsoil.