iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Influence of slope on physical soil disturbance due to farm tractor forwarding in a Hyrcanian forest of northern Iran

Meghdad Jourgholami (1)   , Shoukuh Soltanpour (1), Maryam Etehadi Abari (1), Eric K Zenner (2)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 7, Issue 5, Pages 342-348 (2014)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1141-007
Published: Apr 17, 2014 - Copyright © 2014 SISEF

Research Articles

Tractor-based systems are the most common type of small-scale timber harvesting equipment in the Hyrcanian forest, where farm tractors equipped with a 2-wheel trailer typically perform forwarding operations for pulpwood and fuelwood. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of different frequencies of machine passes on soil bulk density (BD), penetration resistance (PR) and total porosity (TP) in different slope gradient and forwarding direction (i.e., uphill vs. downhill). The study, performed on a brown soil with a silt loam to loamy texture, was designed as a factorial experiment with three slope gradient/forwarding direction classes (0-10% downhill forwarding slope, 10-20% downhill forwarding slope and 0-10% uphill forwarding slope) and four traffic intensity classes (0 [undisturbed control area], 1-4, 5-10 and >10 machine passes). Responses were assessed at four soil profile depth classes (5, 10, 15 and 20 cm). BD and PR significantly increased and TP significantly decreased with increasing machine traffic, with magnitudes of change that were not consistently greater in the upper 5 cm compared to the 20 cm soil profile depth class. Whereas the majority of changes in BD and TP occurred after fewer than 5 passes, large increases in PR occurred even after 10 passes. Changes of BD, PR and TP in response to machine traffic differed significantly among slope gradient/forwarding direction classes. Increases in BD and PR and decreases in TP were largest on the 0-10% uphill forwarding slope, followed by the 10-20% downhill and 0-10% downhill forwarding slope. We conclude that the application of farm tractors in forwarding operations should be limited to gentle slopes and uphill forwarding with these machines should be avoided.


Farm Tractor, Forwarding Operation, Soil Compaction, Penetration Resistance, Total Porosity

Authors’ address

Meghdad Jourgholami
Shoukuh Soltanpour
Maryam Etehadi Abari
Department of Forestry and Forest Economics, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Zob-e-Ahan Street, 315854314 Karaj (Iran)
Eric K Zenner
College of Agricultural Sciences, Pennstate University, 305 Forest Resources Building, University Park, 16802 PA (United States of America)

Corresponding author

Meghdad Jourgholami


Jourgholami M, Soltanpour S, Etehadi Abari M, Zenner EK (2014). Influence of slope on physical soil disturbance due to farm tractor forwarding in a Hyrcanian forest of northern Iran. iForest 7: 342-348. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1141-007

Academic Editor

Enrico Marchi

Paper history

Received: Oct 06, 2013
Accepted: Nov 25, 2013

First online: Apr 17, 2014
Publication Date: Oct 01, 2014
Publication Time: 4.77 months

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