Predicting rut depth induced by an 8-wheeled forwarder in fine-grained boreal forest soils

Abstract

Key message Rut depth in fine-grained boreal soils induced by an 8-wheeled forwarder is best predicted with soil moisture content, cumulative mass of machine passes, bulk density and thickness of the humus layer.
Context Forest machines are today very heavy and will cause serious damage to soil and prevent future growth if forest operations are carried out at the wrong time of the year. Forest operations performed during the wettest season should therefore be directed at coarse-grained soils that are not as prone to soil damage.
Aims The study aimed at investigating the significance of the most important soil characteristics on rutting and developing models that can be utilized in predicting rutting prior to forest operations.
Methods A set of wheeling tests on two fine-grained mineral soil stands in Southern Finland were performed. The wheeling experiments were conducted in three different periods of autumn in order to get the largest possible variation in moisture content. The test drives were carried out with an 8-wheeled forwarder.
Results Soil moisture content is the most important factor affecting rut depth. Rut depth of an 8-wheeled forwarder in fine-grained boreal soil is best predicted with soil moisture content, cumulative mass of machine passes, bulk density and thickness of the humus layer.
Conclusion The results emphasize the importance of moisture content on the risk of rutting in fine-grained mineral soils, especially with high moisture content values when soil saturation reaches 80%. The results indicate that it is of high importance that soil type and soil wetness can be predicted prior to forest operations.

Keywords
Bearing capacity, Trafficability, Compaction

Publication
Uusitalo, J., Ala-Ilomäki, J., Lindeman, H. et al. Predicting rut depth induced by an 8-wheeled forwarder in fine-grained boreal forest soils. Annals of Forest Science 77, 42 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13595-020-00948-y

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Data availability
The data may be accessed with special request from the corresponding author.

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