Current issue: 54(3)
During the next decade there will be a marked increase in the allowable cut in drained peatlands. At the same time, the mechanization in logging proceeds, and in short-distance haulage the use of forwarders will increase. This study, based on literature and some observations, deals with logging conditions in drained peatlands with special reference to the suitability of heavy logging machines for use in such terrain. In addition, soil frost and the bearing capacity of the frozen peat soil were studied.
Freezing of the soil in a drained peatland area depends prevailingly on the weather conditions during early winter. The factors influencing soil freezing of a drained peatland are completely different from those regulating the freezing of natural peat soils. The frost penetrates in general deeper in the drained than virgin peatland. The topmost peat layer does not, however, freeze uniformly. Generally speaking, the bearing capacity of a drained peat soil is lower than that of undrained peat due to lower water content.
It is concluded that heavy logging machines are probably not fitted for use in drained areas on peatland even if the average soil frost values recorded would suggest it. Moreover, because of their extremely superficial root systems, peatland forests are exposed to damages by heavy machines in thinning operations.
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