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Forest road network planning, management and construction

Planning Forest Road Network in Natural Forest Areas: a Case Study in Northern Bosnia and Herzegovina

volume: 39, issue: 1

Natural forests are one of the three types of forest management in terms of origin. These forests
are of seed origin and they regenerate naturally. Therefore, natural forests are the most important
forest category from the point of view of timber production, as well as its quality and
biodiversity. The natural forests accessibility and overall forest accessibility are insufficient
for sustainable forest management. This is the reason for dealing with planning of forest roads,
actually planning of forest accessibility and designing of forest roads in this forest category.
This task requires quantity and quality analysis of the current forest road network, determination
of optimal density of forest roads, determination of suitability of forest area for the construction
of forest roads and designing of forest roads in the end. Planning of forest roads is
carried out at strategic level. Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) allows the selection and
evaluation of influential factors related to planning of forest roads. The tools of Geographic
Information System (GIS) allow a complete spatial and statistical analysis and management
of data collected from the forest management plans or data surveyed in the field and obtained
by means of »Digital Terrain Model« (DTM) and AHP method. Planning of forest roads will
be done in the Management Unit (MU) »Prosara«, located in the northern part of Bosnia and
Herzegovina (BIH). The current density of forest roads is 7.3 m/ha in natural forests of this
management unit. The optimal density of forest roads should be 17 m/ha. The length of new
forest roads designed in the MU »Prosara« is 21 km, and forest accessibility has increased to
13.5 m/ha.

Study of Forest Road Effect on Tree Community and Stand Structure in Three Italian and Iranian Temperate Forests

volume: 39, issue: 1

Roads are built in forests for two main reasons, but always in function of management of forest
ecosystems, and these reasons are to provide access to the forest area for transportation
mobility and wood extraction. This creates a relatively even network in the forest. This topic
has received much attention in recent years due to its function and effect on forested rural
landscapes and the related environment. Forest road network is important for various types
of functional use, such as the interface between forested lands and roads. The aim of this study
is to assess the effects of road existence and use on the occurrence of tree dieback and on the
composition of the tree community in three forest areas (two in Italy and one in Iran). The
effort to determine the dynamics of the effects caused by road use was done by examining the
changes in stand structure and abundance of species. As demonstrated by the results, the
edges (20 m) of the forest road network are a fine mosaic composed of different trees (qualitative
and quantitative), coupled with the moderate presence of dead trees. In the three areas, from
the road edges to the interior forest, a similar taxonomic composition of forest community was
found. The first main difference was related to the abundance of less shadow tolerant species
along the road. The second main difference was related to the tree biodiversity indices that are
higher along the road. The main similarities are in the structure of live and dead trees.

Pavement Deterioration Modeling for Forest Roads Based on Logistic Regression and Artificial Neural Networks

volume: 39, issue: 2

The accurate prediction of forest road pavement performance is important for efficient management
of surface transportation infrastructure and achieves significant savings through timely
intervention and accurate planning. The aim of this paper was to introduce a methodology
for developing accurate pavement deterioration models to be used primarily for the management
of the forest road infrastructure. For this purpose, 19 explanatory and three corresponding
response variables were measured in 185 segments of 50 km forest roads. Logistic regression
(LR) and artificial neural networks (ANNs) were used to predict forest road pavement
deterioration, Pothole, rutting and protrusion, as a function of pavement condition, environmental
factors, traffic and road qualify. The results showed ANNs and LR models could classify
from 82% to 89% of the current pavement condition correctly. According to the results,
LR model and ANNs predicted rutting, pothole and protrusion with 83.5%, 83.00% and
81.75%, 88.65% and 85.20%, 80.00% accuracy. Equivalent single axle load (ESAL), date of
repair, thickness of pavement and slope were identified as most significant explanatory variables.
Receiver Operating Characteristic Curve (ROC) showed that the results obtained by
ANNs and logistic regression are close to each other.

Forest Road Planning, Construction and Maintenance to Improve Forest Fire Fighting: a Review

volume: 40, issue: 1

Forest roads play a key-role in fire fighting activities. In fact, all ground-based activities are
strictly related to the presence of forest roads as access to fire edge. In spite of this important
role, forest roads are often planned and built without considering their use in fire fighting, and
this also occurs in literature, where few studies are dedicated to the importance of forest roads
in fire fighting. A well-developed and well-maintained forest road network is the answer to
different needs in fire management. The objective of this review is to clarify basic principles
for obtaining efficient road network also for fire fighting, collecting, defining and resuming
the main roles, the most important aspects and the reported experiences to be taken into account
in forest road network planning and maintenance in fire-prone areas. The most important
themes treated are related to: i) the analysis of the functions of forest roads in fire prevention
and suppression; ii) the importance of forest road planning and building also considering their
importance for protecting forests against fires: iii) the construction and maintenance characteristics
to be considered for building and maintaining an efficient forest road network against
fires; iv) the importance of fire prevention and the related role of forest roads. Special attention
has been dedicated to maintenance activities, because a not well-maintained forest road is a
not efficient forest road, and it represents a useless economic and environmental cost.

Using Wood-Shred, Rice-Straw and Brush-Wood-Dams with Planting Seedlings to Runoff and Erosion Control in a Forest Road Fill Slope

volume: 40, issue:

This study aimed to investigate the effects of two types of natural geotextiles, including wood shred (WS), rice straw (RS) and the biomechanics method of brush wood dam (BWD) with planting seedlings of Alnus glutinosa and Salix alba on runoff, soil loss and fill slope. The effects were compared with those obtained from control treatment. A total of 36 plots (2×4m) with three replicates in the direction of gradient to fill slope of a forest road in northern Iran was considered. Soil moisture, canopy cover of seedlings, vegetation coverage, runoff, sedimentation and erosion were measured in plots during 12 months. BWD and WS played an effective role in reducing runoff by 57% and 73%, respectively. By using RS and WS,  the sediment concentration was decreased by 23% and 11%, respectively, while by using BWD it increased by 58%. RS (24.16%) and BWD (7%) had the greatest and smallest impact on reducing vegetation coverage, respectively. BWD (33%) and RS (27%) had the highest and lowest canopy cover of seedlings, respectively. Results showed that both RS (22.23%) and A. glutinosa (4.96%) had the greatest effects on increasing soil moisture. Comparison between the planted species and the control treatment (with no seedlings) showed that S. alba was effective in reducing runoff (46.22%), while A. glutinosa was effective in reducing erosion (66.89%) and sediment concentration (53.52%). Finally, interactions between conservation treatment and planting of seedlings played a more effective role in controlling runoff and erosion. Therefore, the application of conservation treatments together with planting of seedlings is recommended in order to provide better soil conservation and restoration of fill slope.

Recycled Asphalt as an Alternative to Natural Aggregates for Forest Road Reinforcement

volume: 41, issue: 1

The objective of the present paper is to confirm or reject the possible use of recycled asphalt to reinforce forest haul roads regarding the technical requirements set by the standards and directives relevant to the construction of forest road surfaces. The hypothesis is based on the presumption that recycled materials, if correctly used, can reach the same construction properties as standard materials, hence their application does not have a negative effect on reinforcement quality. On a selected stretch of forest road, three test sections were constructed with the use of recycled asphalt, however, each of them with a different technological solution. The first section was reinforced with unbound mixture – Type1 without added water, the second section was constructed using a version of vibrated macadam technology, and recycled asphalt was applied to the third section by the method of basic compacting. In each of the sections, tacheometric cross profile measurement was carried out at monthly intervals to monitor the changes in the cross profile shape, and the number of passages of fully loaded logging trucks was registered; static load tests were performed at pre-defined time intervals to determine the deformation moduli such as deformation characteristics of the road surface structural layers. In all three reinforcement versions, the values of deformation moduli observed during the static load tests were between 68–90% of the values set by relevant standards for these technologies using natural aggregates. However, the tacheometric measurements did not reveal statistically significant changes in the shape of the reinforcement cross-section. Based on the obtained results, applying recycled asphalt to reinforce forest roads seems to be a suitable alternative to natural quarry aggregate used in unbound structural layers. Recycled material needs to meet the regulatory limits for foreign elements and pass ecotoxicity tests, which is evidenced by a certificate on material compliance issued by the test laboratory.

Recovery of Forest Soil Chemical Properties Following Soil Rehabilitation Treatments: an Assessment Six Years after Machine Impact

volume: 41, issue: 1

Several rehabilitation treatments have been applied to mitigate runoff and sediment in machine trafficked areas following logging operations, while the knowledge on the consequence of these remediation techniques on the recovery of soil properties remains scarce. The objective of the study was to determine the effect of different rehabilitation treatments including sawdust mulch (SM), water diversion structure (WDS), untreated/bare trail (U), and undisturbed or control area (UND) on the recovery of soil chemical properties over a six-year period after machine-induced compaction occurred on three longitudinal trail gradients (10, 20, and 30 %).In each treatment, the following soil properties were measured: litter thickness, pH, EC, soil organic C, total N, and available P, K, Ca, and Mg. Five sampling plots (with 10 m length and 4 m width) were positioned in each trail gradient classes and three of these plots were randomly considered for soil sampling.The results demonstrate that litter thickness differed among the three treatments, with the highest amount present on the UND area and lowest on the U treatment. Meanwhile, the highest pH (6.75), EC (0.21 Ds m−1), N (0.27 %), available P (14.61 mg kg−1), available K (123.5 mg kg−1), available Ca (135.1 mg kg−1), and available Mg (42.1 mg kg−1) and the lowest C (1.21 %) and C/N ratio (7.83 %) were found on the SM with gradient of 10 % compared to other gradient classes on SM, WDS and, U treatments. The recovery value of litter depth, pH, EC, C, N, C/N ratio, and available nutrients (P, K, Ca, and Mg) were higher on the SM than the WDS at the gradient of 10 %, while significantly higher levels of these variables were measured under WDS installed on trail gradients of 30 % and 20 % when compared with the same gradients on SM. Results of the study revealed that soil chemical properties showed some evidence of recovery following SM and WDS rehabilitation treatments compared to U, although these properties did not fully recover within 6 years as compared to UND area

Effects of Soil Conservation Practices on Sediment Yield from Forest Road Ditches in Northern Iran

volume: 41, issue:

The fine-textured soil in forest road ditches is very susceptible to water erosion especially in rainy seasons in Hyrcanian forest. This study examined the yield of ditch segment-scale sediment after releasing two flow rates of 5 l s-1 and 10 l s-1 in segments treated by riprap (RR), grass cover by Festuca arundinacea L. (GC), compacted cotton geotextile (CG) and wooden wattle by local slash (WW). Sediment sampling from the runoff was carried out at the end of each segment every minute. Runoff flow velocity in different treatments was measured using an electromagnetic flow meter. Sediment concentration and runoff velocity in treatments of RR, GC, CG, WW was significantly lower than that of the control plot (Ctl). Increasing flow rate from 5 l s-1 to 10 l s-1 caused no significant change in sediment concentration (except for Ctl and RR) and runoff velocity (except for Ctl and CG), which means that some water might have penetrated into treated soil by RR, GC and WW and this is not acceptable in forest road maintenance practices. Sediment yield from RR (0.36 g l-1) and Ctl (0.50 g l-1) under the flow rate of 10 l s-1 was significantly higher than that of 5 l s-1 with values of 0.21 g l-1 and 0.38 g l-1, respectively. Minimum amount of sediment concentration was observed for CG (0.20 g l-1) with compacted ditch bed. Moreover, runoff velocity in CG and Ctl under the flow rate of 10 l s-1 was significantly higher than that of 5 l s-1. For a forest road with dimension 30×50 cm, slope of 5%, and clay soil with porosity of 57%, treatments of compacted CG can be used in ditch with low flow rates (5 l s-1) and high flow rate (10 l s-1) because of their high efficiency in reducing sediment yield.

Challenges in Forest Road Maintenance in North America

volume: 42, issue:

Maintenance is a key component of managing a forest road network. Forest road networks in North America are managed to provide economic access to forest resources while minimizing the environmental impacts of those roads. While managers understand the importantance of road maintenance, there is a considerable backlog in the maintenance required on most forest road networks. This article reviews challenges across North America in forest road maintenance. Challenges reviewed include those associated with climate change, changing land use and intermingled ownerships, legacy roads, decision support, and financial barriers.

Periodical Maintenance of Forest Roads with a Mobile Stone Crusher

volume: 42, issue:

Forest road networks are exposed to damage by traffic, climate, timber harvesting and vegetation. To maintain their functionality, they must be maintained regularly. Periodical maintenance is required when the forest road surface layer is deteriorated and eroded. Well-graded material is required for replacing the forest road surface and often has to be sourced from gravel storage areas, which is costly and requires a large number of truck trips. Therefore, converting non-graded aggregate available on site into well-graded aggregate with a mobile stone crusher is considered a viable alternative.

The present study was carried out during a periodical maintenance treatment at the Bavarian State Forest Enterprise and the effect of employing a mobile stone crusher was evaluated with regard to (1) forest road load bearing capacity development during a one-year period post-treatment, (2) particle size distribution of the surface layer material before and after crushing, and (3) its cost compared to other alternatives. Samples were collected pre- and post-operation for particle size distribution analysis, load bearing capacity was measured repeatedly with a light falling weight deflectometer and compared to an untreated reference section and cost of the treatment was compared to two alternatives.

The mobile stone crusher was capable of reducing the non-graded to well-graded/close-to-well-graded material and particle size distributions aligned well with the recommendations for lime-water bonded surfaces. Load bearing capacity exceeded the threshold of 40 MN m-2 (Evd, elastic modulus dynamic) for primary forest roads at all times. It increased significantly after the treatment and remained on a significantly higher level throughout the following year. Absolute and relative increases were higher than on the untreated reference section. The treatment variant involving a mobile stone crusher and material available on site was substantially cheaper (5.31 € m-1) than to supply non-graded (16.29 € m-1) or well-graded (19.82 € m-1) material by truck. Material and transport costs represented 67% and 82% of the total costs in the latter two cases. It can be concluded that mobile stone crushers are capable of producing at least close-to-well-graded forest road surface aggregate and that forest road load bearing capacity can be significantly and lastingly increased at only a part of the costs of the alternatives. A maximum of cost and resource efficiency and environmental soundness can be attained when enough surface aggregate is available on site. If this is not the case, sourcing non-graded material as local as possible is the next best alternative.

Pavement Engineering for Forest Roads: Development and Opportunities

volume: 42, issue:

Pavement is an essential component of roads as it carries the traffic and provides the required riding comfort. Considering that numerous forest roads are approaching their end of life, the critical issue is identifying the best rational pavement design methods to reengineer existing and build new pavement structures. The purpose of this contribution was (1) to review the big development lines of pavement systems, (2) to have a critical look at the pavement engineering framework, and (3) to bring selected empirical design equations into a comparable scheme. The study resulted in the following significant findings. First, the Trésaguet and McAdam pavement systems represented the state of the art from the beginning of a formal forest road engineering discipline at the beginning of the 19th century and remained for almost 150 years. Second, the emergence of soil mechanics as a scientific discipline in the 1920s resulted in the optimal grading of aggregates and improvement of soils and aggregates with binders, such as lime, cement, and bitumen. Third, the rational pavement design consists of five essential components: (1) bearing resistance of the subsoil, (2) bearing resistance of the pavement structure, (3) lifecycle traffic volume, (4) uncertainties that amplify deterioration, and (5) the limit state criterion, defining thresholds, above which structural safety and serviceability are no longer met. Fourth, rational, formal pavement design approaches used for forest roads were »downsized« from methodologies developed for high-volume roads, among which the approaches of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are of primary interest. Fifth, the conversion of the AASHTO '93 and USACE '70 methods into the SI system indicated that both equations are sensitive to soil bearing resistance, measured in California Bearing Ratio (CBR). However, there is a lack of validation for the AASHTO and USACE equations for forest road conditions. Consequently, a factorial observational study to gain a basis for validation should be developed and implemented. Additionally, the conversion of simple soil bearing resistance measures, such as CBR, into the resilient modulus will be improved.

Evaluating the Effects of Improving Forest Road Standards on Economic Value of Forest Products

volume: 42, issue:

Forest roads are the key infrastructures that provide access to forest areas for sustainable management, protection, and utilization of forest resources. In order to benefit from the important functions of forest roads, they should be built in with adequate technical road standards. The road network with low technical standards require more frequent major repairs to ensure continues access to forest resources. In addition, only small trucks with low load capacity can move on the low standard roads. Furthermore, the low road standards limit the truck speed that increases vehicle travel time. These negative effects increase the transportation costs which are an important part of the timber production costs in Turkey. Thus, improving the road standards and developing forest transportation planning should be evaluated together in the most appropriate way. Large logging trucks with high load capacity are generally preferred for efficient transportation of wood-based forest products. In Turkey, large logging trucks, however, cannot operate on the most of the forest roads because insufficient technical road standards (road width, curve radius, surface materials, road structures) limit the maneuverability of large logging trucks. In this study, the objective is to determine the effects of improving forest road standards on total net profit of forest products by using the NETWORK 2000 program, a heuristic approach for solving forest transportation problems. Three Forest Enterprise Chiefs (FECs) located in Mustafakemalpaşa Forest Enterprise Directorate (FED) in Bursa Forest Regional Directorate were selected as the study area. The digital data layers for forest road network was generated by using ArcGIS 10.4 software. In the solution process, firstly, the optimum routes that minimize the transportation cost and maximize the total net profit of forest products on existing forest road networks were investigated for a truck type (15 ton) currently used in the region. In the second case, forest transportation was planned for the high load capacity truck (29 ton) moving on the forest roads with improved standards. In the first case, the transportation costs and annual major repair costs were considered in the calculation of the net profit of forest products, while one time cost of road improvement activities (i.e. road improvement construction, road structure installation, road surface construction) and annual maintenance costs were considered along with transportation costs in the second case. In both cases, the costs of other forest operations (i.e. felling, logging, etc.) were not considered since it was assumed that they do not vary with the forest transportation alternatives. As a result of the transportation plan developed for high load capacity truck, the annual transportation cost decreased by 46.85% comparing to the local logging trucks with low load capacity. Using improved road standards, the total road costs computed for the time period of 30 years (i.e. the average expected life cycle of forest roads) were reduced by 4.64%. The total net profit of forest products transported by using a high load capacity truck was 473,340 Euro more than that of using low load capacity truck on the existing forest road network. Thus, improving road standards might result in some additional costs in the road construction stage, but total net profit of forest products increase since transportation costs along with maintenance and repair costs considerably decrease in the long term.

Efficiency of Different Anti-Dust Agents in Reducing Dust Emission from Forest Road and Deposition on Leaf Surface

volume: 42, issue:

Dust is often generated from the dry surfaces of unpaved forest roads as a result of vehicular traffic. Dust particles can negatively affect vegetative growth, water quality and road traffic quality. In this study, some environmental friendly anti-dust agents including sugar cane molasses, polyacrylamide (PAM) and bentonite were used to control dust emission from the road surface under three different concentrations within the 3, 9, 27 and 81 day timeframe. Rear-mounted spray system and dustometer devices were used for implementation of treatments and dust emission recording, respectively. Leaf samples were collected from trees adjacent to road to measure the dust deposited on the leaves by centrifuging dust solution. The results showed that molasses achieved higher efficiencies in term of dust reduction and cost effectiveness than those of PAM and bentonite in Loveh forest, where high levels of fines are present in the road surface materials. 2% and 4% PAM were the most efficient dosages in terms of dust control and cost effectiveness in Shastkalateh and Kouhmian forests, respectively. It was detected that in all sites most of the dust emitted from the road surface was deposited on the leaves of Carpinus betulus L. and Alnus subcordata L., while smooth surface of the leaves retained lower amount of dust in Parrotia persica CAM. It is concluded that the amount of fine aggregates in surfacing materials, type and dosage of anti-dust agent play an important role in the effectiveness and longevity of treatment.

Bearing Capacity Standards for Forest Roads Constructed Using Various Technologies from Mechanically and Chemically Stabilised Aggregate

volume: 42, issue:

Forest roads are essential for adequate forest management and environmental protection. They enable tourism and recreation activity, while at the same time playing a very important role in fire protection. When open to the local traffic, they significantly supplement the public traffic networks. Costs of constructing permanent roads in forested areas are considerable, because they need to have adequate bearing capacity. Forest roads are predominantly constructed using natural or anthropogenic aggregate stabilised mechanically and chemically. A tangible parameter verifying the proper construction of road structure is provided by its bearing capacity, i.e. the capacity of the pavement to carry loads generated by traffic without excessive strains hindering normal use of the pavement or reducing its durability. Some forest road networks are also constructed as temporary roads composed of cheaper aggregates. It seems reasonable to assume different bearing capacity standards for such roads than for permanent roads.

The aim of the studies presented in this paper was to develop bearing capacity standards for forest roads constructed using various technologies. The adopted research hypothesis assumes that each of the analysed technologies is characterised by a different bearing capacity required during road construction inspections. An example of such a structure may be provided by the so-called geotextile mattress and crushed stone constructed on wetland soils. When developing the standards, the analyses included the predicted traffic intensity, assumed operation time before rehabilitation is required, soil conditions and the type of construction material.

Bearing capacity of the testing road sections was assessed based on values of strain moduli calculated from the static plate load tests (VSS). As a result, bearing capacity standards were obtained for structures constructed using aggregates and chemical stabilisers as well as geotextiles potentially facilitating reduction of the layer thickness without deterioration of road durability.

Bearing Capacity Standards for Forest Roads Constructed Using Various Technologies from Mechanically and Chemically Stabilised Aggregate

volume: issue, issue:

Forest roads are essential for adequate forest management and environmental protection. They enable tourism and recreation activity, while at the same time playing a very important role in fire protection. When open to the local traffic, they significantly supplement the public traffic networks. Costs of constructing permanent roads in forested areas are considerable, because they need to have adequate bearing capacity. Forest roads are predominantly constructed using natural or anthropogenic aggregate stabilised mechanically and chemically. A tangible parameter verifying the proper construction of road structure is provided by its bearing capacity, i.e. the capacity of the pavement to carry loads generated by traffic without excessive strains hindering normal use of the pavement or reducing its durability. Some forest road networks are also constructed as temporary roads composed of cheaper aggregates. It seems reasonable to assume different bearing capacity standards for such roads than for permanent roads.

The aim of the studies presented in this paper was to develop bearing capacity standards for forest roads constructed using various technologies. The adopted research hypothesis assumes that each of the analysed technologies is characterised by a different bearing capacity required during road construction inspections. An example of such a structure may be provided by the so-called geotextile mattress and crushed stone constructed on wetland soils. When developing the standards, the analyses included the predicted traffic intensity, assumed operation time before rehabilitation is required, soil conditions and the type of construction material.

Bearing capacity of the testing road sections was assessed based on values of strain moduli calculated from the static plate load tests (VSS). As a result, bearing capacity standards were obtained for structures constructed using aggregates and chemical stabilisers as well as geotextiles potentially facilitating reduction of the layer thickness without deterioration of road durability.

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Web of Science Impact factor (2019): 2.500
Five-years impact factor: 2.077

Quartile: Q1 - Forestry

Subject area

Agricultural and Biological Sciences

Category/Quartile

Forestry/Q1