Sediment and Runoff Losses following Harvesting/Site Prep Operations on a Piedmont Soil in Alabama
Impacts of soil erosion on water quality from forest harvesting and site preparation have received increased concern in recent years. The study presented here was performed in Lee County, Alabama to investigate the impact of harvesting and site preparation on a 20-year-old loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) plantation on sediment and runoff yield. Sediment and runoff yield responses on treated areas were compared to that of undisturbed areas. Impacts were evaluated by monitoring isolated small plots, 2-m by 5.5-m, over a 2-year period following the harvest prescription. Sediment yield increases of 2-fold and 30-fold were observed from Treatment 1 (harvest/site prep/plant) and Treatment 2 (harvest /plant), respectively. Runoff yield results were similar to those observed with sediment yields from treatments in the investigation. Differences in the two treatments were likely due to the differences in surface roughness, which affects infiltration and surface flow velocity.