Spatial analysis of soil compaction caused by the full tree wood harvesting system

ABSTRACT The spatial analysis of soil compaction caused by the wood harvesting system can assist in the planning of forest operations. The aim of this work was to identify and map the levels of soil compaction along the traces of wood extraction caused by the machines in the harvesting full tree system. Was studied the wood harvesting system composed of the feller buncher, skidder and harvester, being sample meshes installed at the different wood extraction distances (0 to 50; 51 to 100; 101 to 150 and 151 to 200 m), and soil compaction was evaluated in four depths (0 to 10; 11 to 20; 21 to 40 and 41 to 60 cm), in order to verify the effect of the variation of the skidder traffic along the field through the penetration resistance of the soil with the use of a digital penetrometer. Through of the geostatistics technique, thematic maps were elaborated and the areas with the different levels of compaction were quantified. The results allowed to locate the regions along the plot with different intensities of compaction, being that the region next the margin of the plot presented greater soil compaction with a resistance to penetration above 2 MPa and compromising approximately 20% of the total area of the first class distance. The other classes of extraction distance did not reach this level of compaction, showing that the increase of traffic intensity wasn’t influenced the soil physical properties. The geostatistical technique proved to be feasible in the determination of soil compaction in the different areas of the field, and may favor the planning of soil preparation operations.