Current issue: 54(2)
Under compilation: 54(3)
Physical soil properties have a marked influence on the quality of forest sites and on the preconditions for forest growth and management. In this study, water retention characteristics (WRC) and related physical soil properties in addition to vegetation coverage and tree stand data were studied at upland forest sites in Finland. Fixed and mixed models between soil and site characteristics were formed to estimate physical and hydrologic soil characteristics and the site quality with indirect co-varying variables. In the present data, the site quality index (H100) shows a high coefficient of determination in respect to the temperature sum. It is also related to soil fine fraction content, topsoil pH and water retention at field capacity. The thickness of the humus layer is predictable from the pH and cover of xeric and mesic plant species. The soil fine fraction content (clay + silt) is closely related to water retention at field capacity, the soil layer and site type, and without WRC to the temperature sum and site index and type, as well as the slope angle. The soil bulk density is related to organic matter, depth (layer) or alternatively to organic matter, slope and field estimated textural class (fine, medium, coarse). Water retention characteristics were found to be best determinable by the fine fraction content, depth and bulk density. Water content and air-filled porosity at field capacity are closely related to the fine fraction. This study provides novel models for further investigations that aim at improved prediction models for forest growth, hydrology and trafficability.
Information on forest trafficability (i.e. carrying capacity of the forest floor) is required before harvesting operations in Southern Boreal forest conditions. It describes the seasons when harvesting operations may take place without causing substantial damage to the forest soil using standard logging machinery. The available trafficability information have been based on subjective observations made during the wood procurement planning. For supporting forest operations, an open access map product has been developed to provide information on trafficability of forests. The forest stands are distributed into classes that characterize different harvesting seasons based on topographic wetness index, amount of vegetation, ground water height and ditch depth. The main goal of this case study was to evaluate the information of the static forest trafficability map in relation to the detected rutting within logging tracks measured in the field. The analysis concentrated on thinning stands since the effect of rutting is significant on the growth of the remaining trees. The results showed that the static trafficability map provided reliable and slightly conservative estimation of the forest trafficability. The majority (91.7%) of the evaluated stands were harvested without causing significant damage if harvesting was timed correctly compared to the trafficability information. However, it should be pointed out that the weather history at small scale, the skills of a driver, and effects of used machinery are not considered in the map product although they can have a considerable impact on the rutting.
The possibilities of using microwave techniques in detecting the trafficability of peatlands is discussed. Three microwave methods were tested. 1) A FM-CW radar using 1.0–1.8 GHz frequency was used to measure the frost thickness of peat layer. It was possible to follow the variations in snow and frost layer thickness. Total reflected power might indicate the wetness class of the peatland, which is also a trafficability factor. 2) A short-pulse radar with 100 MHz frequency was tested in summer condition. Good profiling of peat layers was obtained, giving basic information for trafficability analysis. 3) A mapping of brightness of temperature of peatlands in summer conditions using a 790 MHz radiometer. The measured brightness temperature was correlated with vegetation cover, thus giving some information of trafficability.
The PDF includes a summary in English.