European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 137, Issue 2, pp 223–235 | Cite as

Effects of foliage and traffic intensity on runoff and sediment in skid trails after trafficking in a deciduous forest

  • Meghdad Jourgholami
  • Kiomars Fathi
  • Eric R. Labelle
Original Paper


After ground-based skidding operations, soil particles are rearranged closer together resulting in increased bulk density, reduced total porosity, and decreased infiltration capacity. The aim of the present study was to assess and quantify runoff and sediment in both leafed and leafless periods (foliage) over a 1-year duration following three levels of skidder traffic intensity (low, medium, high) performed in the Hyrcanian forests, Iran. By increasing traffic frequency, soil bulk density increased significantly, whereas total porosity decreased as compared to undisturbed (control) plots. After trafficking, runoff and sediment yield were significantly affected by foliage and traffic frequency. Regardless of foliage, mean total runoff and sediment increased with increasing traffic frequency performed on the skid trail. Mean runoff in the low, medium, and high traffic plots in the leafless period were 95.5, 54.2, and 21.7% higher than the values of runoff in the leafed period, respectively. Mean sediment yield in the low, medium, and high traffic plots in the leafless period was 7.1, 5.1, and 3.3 times higher than the values of sediment in the leafed period, respectively. Based on regression analysis, the runoff and sediment response to rainfall for the control plots and three traffic intensity classes were linear and statistically significant for both leafless and leafed periods. The total runoff in the high traffic intensity plot was 239.8 mm (62%) during the leafless period, and 38% of total runoff (148 mm) occurred during the leafed period. The sediment response to runoff over both leafless and leafed periods at all the traffic intensity classes and control plots were significantly linear. Restricting ground-based skidding operations to trail segments where the machine traffic is less than 4 (low)—9 (medium) traffic cycles can be effective to reduce runoff and sediment over compacted soil after machine-induced traffic.


Machine traffic Forest soils Runoff plot Leafless period Leafed period Mixed forest 



We would like to acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Jaafar Fathi, Forest Engineer, Kheyrud Forest Research Station, Nowshahr, and the field crew from the Kheyrud Forest Research Station, Mr. Asghar Ghomi. We thank two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments to improve the manuscript. Funding was provided by University College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, University of Tehran (Grant No. 28514).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Forest Economics, Faculty of Natural ResourcesUniversity of TehranKarajIran
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Ecosystem ManagementTechnische Universität MünchenFreisingGermany

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