Impacts of forest practices on surface erosion
Document Type: Book
Author(s): R. C. Sidle
Publication Year: 1954

Cataloging Information

  • agriculture
  • artificial regeneration
  • Cascades Range
  • coastal forests
  • disturbance
  • education
  • erosion
  • fire intensity
  • fishes
  • floods
  • forest management
  • Idaho
  • litter
  • logging
  • mortality
  • natural resource legislation
  • nutrient cycling
  • Oregon
  • pollution
  • precipitation
  • riparian habitats
  • roads
  • sedimentation
  • seedlings
  • site treatments
  • slash
  • soil erosion
  • soil management
  • soil moisture
  • soil nutrients
  • soil organic matter
  • soil permeability
  • streamflow
  • Washington
  • water
  • water quality
  • water repellent soils
  • water uptake
  • watershed management
  • wildlife management
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 34921
Tall Timbers Record Number: 9206
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File DDW
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Before examining the impacts of forest management practices on surface erosion, it is appropriate to ask the question 'Why should we be concerned with surface erosion?' One of the most important impacts of surface erosion on forest lands is the decrease in site productivity caused by loss of nutrient-rich surface soil. In addition, surface eroded sediment deposited in upland draws or pockets will be susceptible to future surface erosion or mass wasting. Aside from these on-site problems associated with surface erosion, sediment may be transported off site and into stream systems. Stream studies in the Pacific Northwest and southeast Alaska have shown that porous streambed gravels provide an efficient 'trap' for fine sediment. These and other studies have indicated that this material can significantly reduce the survival of salmon and steelhead eggs. Sediment loads in stream systems can have a variety of negative impacts on such downstream users as municipalities, industries, agriculture, recreational users, and domestic water systems. For instance, the life of water pumps in an irrigation system will be considerably shortened by pumping sediment-laden water, not to mention the possible reduction in infiltration rate of land continually irrigated with such water. Although the relative costs of such downstream impacts are sometimes difficult to assess, usually the downstream users must bear this financial burden. Thus, it is important that best management practices be adopted in timber harvesting, road building, and site preparation in order to minimize surface erosion. The Forest Practices Acts for Oregon, Washington, and Idaho include regulation of non-point source pollution, such as surface erosion, from forest lands by encouraging best management practices. (Non-point source pollution is not traceable to a clearly identifiable point such as an industrial waste discharge pipe.) Technical education programs are needed for both timber operators and forest practice officers to insure the effectiveness of these Acts.

Sidle, R. C. 1954. Impacts of forest practices on surface erosion. [Corvallis, OR], [Oregon State University, Extension Service].