Address: 17 Naberezhnaya Severnoy Dviny, Arkhangelsk 163002 Russian Federation. Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M.V.Lomonosov. Office 1425

Phone / Fax: (818-2) 21-61-18



Environmental Consequences of Logging

Версия для печати
Creative Commons License
These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

S.M. Govorushko

Complete text of the article:

Download article (pdf, 0.7MB )





Logging is a very widespread practice which, like any other type of economic activity, has a negative impact on the environment. The article aimed to reveal the nature of these effects. The objectives of this paper were to determine the impact categories of this activity, identify natural components particularly susceptible to its impact and determine the main causes of human mortality during logging. The impacts of logging on the environment can be classified in three categories: (1) taking matter out of nature; (2) introduction of alien matter and energy; and (3) transformation and redistribution of matter in the nature. Logging affects the following natural components: vegetation; soils; fauna; surface waters; and atmospheric air. Moreover, it is not uncommon for this activity to cause human death. The impact on vegetation is mainly defined by undergrowth preservation. Transportation of one tree causes death or serious damage of two trees. Clear cutting is more disturbing to vegetation diversity than gradual or selective cutting. Logging is much safer in winter than during the frost-free season. The impacts on soils are as follows: fertility decline; soil erosion; and change in physical qualities. Fertility decline is explained by the fact that most of the biogenic matter is stored in trees and disappears when the trees are cut. After logging, the soils are exposed to direct sun and heavy rains. The soils of humid tropics experience a deficit of phosphorus and potassium, while dry tropics lack nitrogen. In addition, the carbon–nitrogen balance, pH, and concentration of exchangeable bases undergo changes. Soil erosion is provoked by topsoil disturbance during skidding. During the first two years after logging, washout intensity reaches hundreds of cubic metres per hectare on slopes of 10–20о. Main losses of soils occur within the first 5–6 years. Physical qualities of soil are mainly affected by changes in its density, porosity, and filtration factor.Impacts on animals are determined by the complexity of ecosystem connections, when minor changes can lead to unpredictable results. For instance, so-called keystone species play unique, sometimes unclear, roles in ecosystems. Logging of such species can lead to catastrophic consequences for the fauna. Furthermore, we can observe intensified hunting and fishing, including poaching, in the areas where logging is taking place. Surface waters are affected through increase in seasonal flood levels of rivers and lack of water during other seasons. The atmosphere is polluted by the exhaust of working machinery. Human deaths are connected with accidents, and intoxication caused by chemicals used for pest control. Almost all the cases of poisoning are connected with organophosphate insecticides.


S.M. Govorushko, Doctor of Geography, Principal Researcher

1 Pacific Institute of Geography, FEB RAS, Radio, 7, Vladivostok, Russia, 690041; 
2 Far Eastern Federal University, Suhanova, 8, 690650, Vladivostok, Russia,  E-mail: 


1Pacific Institute of Geography, FEB RAS,   2Far Eastern Federal University


logging, forest, wood, globe, natural components, human mortality.


1. Berriman A. Zashchita lesa ot nasekomykh-vrediteley [Protecting Forests from Insect Pests]. Moscow, 1990. 288 p. 2. Bocharnikov V.N. Bioraznoobrazie: otsenka i sokhranenie na baze GIS-tekhnologiy [Biodiversity: An Assessment and GIS-Based Conservation]. Vladivostok, 1998. 288 p. 3. Vavilova E.V. Ekonomicheskaya i sotsial'naya geografiya mira [Economic and Social Geography of the World]. Moscow, 2003. 175 p. 4. Geoekologicheskie printsipy proektirovaniya prirodnotekhnicheskikh geosistem [Geo-Ecological Design Principles for Natural and Engineering Geosystems]. Moscow, 1987. 322 p. 5. Govorushko S.M. Energiya biomassy: napravleniya ispol'zovaniya i ekologicheskie problemy [Biomass Energy: Directions of Use and Environmental Issues]. Al'ternativnaya energetika i ekologiya, 2011, no. 3, pp. 48–51. 6. Golubev G.N. Geoekologiya [Geo-Ecology]. Moscow, 2006. 288 p. 7. Gorshkov S.P. Kontseptual'nye osnovy geoekologii [Conceptual Framework of Geo-Ecology]. Moscow, 2001. 592 p. 8. Kovalev A.P. Ekologo-lesovodstvennye osnovy rubki v lesakh Dal'nego Vostoka [Ecological and Silvicultural Foundations of Felling in the Forests of the Far East]. Khabarovsk, 2004. 267 p. 9. Litvin L.F. Geografiya erozii pochv sel'skokhozyaystvennykh zemel' Rossii [Geography of Farmland Erosion in Russia]. Moscow, 2002. 255 p. 10. Mel'nikov E.S., Belyaeva N.V. Dinamika tekushchego prirosta v sosnovykh i elovykh drevostoyakh posle kompleksnogo ukhoda za lesom [Dynamics of Current Increment in Pine and Spruce Stands after Complex Tending of Forest]. Lesnoy zhurnal, 2008, no. 1, pp. 56–64. 11. Mirzekhanova Z.G., Narbut N.A. Ekologicheskie funktsii landshaftov [Ecological Functions of Landscapes]. Vestnik KrasGAU, 2008, no. 4, pp. 119–122. 12. Nabatov N.M. Lesovodstvo [Forestry]. Moscow, 1997. 188 p. 13. Okruzhayushchaya sreda. Entsikloped. slovar'-sprav. [Environment. Encyclopedic Dictionary]. Moscow, 1999. Vol. 2. 304 p. 14. Rosnovskiy I.N. Otsenka vozdeystviya lesozagotovitel'noy tekhniki na pochvy lesnykh ekosistem [Assessing the Impact of Logging Equipment on Soils of Forest Ecosystems]. Ekologicheskaya ekspertiza, 1999, no. 6, pp. 2–29. 15. Rossiya i strany mira [Russia and the Rest of the World]. Moscow, 2008. 361 p. 16. Semenov A.M. Vliyanie trelevochnykh sistem na sostoyanie okruzhayushchey sredy [Effect of Skidders on the Environment]. Sostoyanie i problemy nepreryvnogo ekologicheskogo obrazovaniya i okhrany okruzhayushchey sredy [The State and Problems of Continuous Environmental Education and Environmental Protection]. Arkhangelsk, 2001, pp. 158–159. 17. Semenova-Tyan-Shanskaya A.M. Mir rasteniy i lyudi [The Vegetable Kingdom and People]. Leningrad, 1986. 174 p. 18. Spurr S.G., Barnes B.V. Lesnaya ekologiya [Forest Ecology]. Moscow, 1984. 477 p. 19. Tatarinov K.P. Ekologiya i sploshnolesosechnye rubki [Environment and Clear-Cutting]. Ekologicheskie osnovy ratsional'nogo lesopol'zovaniya v Srednem Povolzh'e [Ecological Basis for Sustainable Forest Management in the Middle Volga Region]. Yoshkar-Ola, 2002, pp. 83–85. 20. Teplyakov V.K. Global'naya rol' lesov i lesnoe khozyaystvo Rossii: kratkiy ocherk [The Global Role of Forests and Forestry in Russia: A Brief Outline]. Standarty i kachestvo, 1998, no. 5, pp. 15–20. 21. Isaev A.S., Korovin G.N., Sukhikh V.I., Titov S.P., Utkin A.S., Golub A.A., Zamolodchikov D.G., Pryazhnikov A.A. Ekologicheskie problemy pogloshcheniya uglekislogo gaza posredstvom lesovosstanovleniya i lesorazvedeniya v Rossii (Analiticheskiy obzor) [Ecological Problems of Carbon Dioxide Absorption by Means of Reforestation and Afforestation in Russia (Analytical Review)]. Moscow, 1995. 155 p. 22. Bock M.D., Van Rees K.C.J. Forest Harvesting Impacts on Soil Properties and Vegetation Communities in the Northwest Territories. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 2002, vol. 32, iss. 4, pp. 713–724. 23. Deconchat M. Effects of Logging Techniques on the Soil Surface. Annals of Forest Science, 2001, vol. 56, iss. 6, pp. 653–661. 24. 28. Schmidt M.G., Macdonald S.E., Rothwell R.L. Impacts of Harvesting and Mechanical Site Preparation on Soil Properties of Mixed-Wood Boreal Forest Sites in Alberta. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 1996, vol. 76, iss. 4, pp. 531–540. 29. State of the World’s Forests. Rome, 2011. 164 p. 30. World Resources. 1990–1991. New York, Oxford. 1990, vol. XII. 383 p.

Environmental Consequences of Logging


Make a Submission


Lesnoy Zhurnal (Russian Forestry Journal) was awarded the "Seal of Recognition for Active Data Provider of the Year 2024"