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Methods of Protection Forest Soils during Logging Operations (Review)

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А.S. Ilintsev, E.N. Nakvasina, L. Högbom

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Public opinion has become increasingly critical of current logging methods and technologies, and there is a demand for standards to guide the operations of environmentally impactful industries. For many years, numerous researchers have studied the impact of logging on forest soils, revealing that there is a high risk of damaging forest soil during forest operations and terrain transport. Here we analyse and review a total of 105 publications in this area. This large body of work demonstrates the scientific interest that this field has attracted. Despite this, important areas of uncertainty concerning the impact of forest harvesting still remain. In particular, changes in soil conditions can affect soil properties in ways that are not well understood, with possible impacts on the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils as well as the structure of the soil cover. While it is difficult to fully eliminate the negative impact of forest operations on forest soils, their adverse environmental consequences should be minimised because soil plays a vital role in tree regeneration and helps determine the productivity of future forest stands. Some of the most frequently cited measures and effective technological solutions to minimize damage to forest soils involve taking terrain and different technical solutions into account when organising logging operations. Potentially helpful technical solutions include selecting machines and mechanisms suitable for the site conditions, using larger and/or low-pressure tyres, using tyre pressure control, using anti-skid tracks, using track belts, meliorating wet areas, and using logging machinery incorporating global positioning systems and geographic information systems. Planning measures that can help minimize soil damage include choosing a suitable wood harvesting system and technology, accounting for seasonal factors when planning logging operations, planning networks of roads and trails in advance, leaving wood residues or mats on soil surface, training forest specialists, and reducing the number of machine passes over skid trails and strip roads. Despite active interest in applying sparing methods of wood harvesting, uptake of measures designed to reduce negative impacts on forest soils after logging has been limited. This may be due to a lack of scientific and technical information and the high cost of implementing best management practices. Moreover, economic factors and production plans may require wood harvesting throughout the year, irrespective of conditions.


Aleksey S. Ilintsev1, Candidate of Agriculture, Senior Research Scientist; ResearcherID: N-6286-2019, ORCID:
Elena N. Nakvasina2, Doctor of Agriculture, Prof.; ResearcherID: A-5165-2013,
Lars Högbom3,4, PhD, Associated Professor; ORCID:


1Northern Research Institute of Forestry, ul. Nikitova, 13, Arkhangelsk, 163062, Russian Federation; e-mail:
2Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M.V. Lomonosov, Naberezhnaya Severnoy Dviny, 17, Arkhangelsk, 163002, Russian Federation; е-mail:
3Skogforsk – The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden, Uppsala Science Park, Uppsala, SE-751 83, Sweden; e-mail:
4Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, 901 03, Sweden; e-mail:


forest ecosystems, soil, anthropogenic load, logging, forest machinery, ecological consequences, progressive succession, best practices


The research was financially supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation as part of the project “Patterns of Changes in the Forest Site Environment under the Influence of Anthropogenic Factors (Logging) in the Boreal Forests of the North” No. МК-2622.2021.5. Part of the research was carried out within the framework of the state assignment of the Northern Research Institute of Forestry (No. 121020500252-6).

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Ilintsev A.S., Nakvasina E.N., Högbom L. Methods of Protection Forest Soils during Logging Operations (Review). Lesnoy Zhurnal [Russian Forestry Journal], 2021, no. 5, pp. 92–116. DOI: 10.37482/0536-1036-2021-5-92-116


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Methods of Protection Forest Soils during Logging Operations (Review)


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