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Environmental Impacts of Forest Road Construction on Mountainous Terrain

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Author(s): Erhan Caliskan

Journal: Iranian Journal of Environmental Health Science & Engineering
ISSN 1735-1979

Volume: 10;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 23;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: Environmental Impacts | Forest Road Construction | Buldozer | Excavator | Mountainous Terrain

ABSTRACT
Forest roads are the base infrastructure foundation of forestry operations. These roads entail a complex engineering effort because they can cause substantial environmental damage to forests and include a high-cost construction. This study was carried out in four sample sites of Giresun, Trabzon(2) and Artvin Forest Directorate, which is in the Black Sea region of Turkey. The areas have both steep terrain (30-50% gradient) and very steep terrain (51-80% gradient). Bulldozers and hydraulic excavators were determined to be the main machines for forest road construction, causing environmental damage and cross sections in mountainous areas.As a result of this study, the percent damage to forests was determined as follows: on steep terrain, 21% of trees were damaged by excavators and 33% of trees were damaged by bulldozers during forest road construction, and on very steep terrain, 27% of trees were damaged by excavators and 44% of trees were damaged by bulldozers during forest road construction. It was also determined that on steep terrain, when excavators were used, 12.23% less forest area was destroyed compared with when bulldozers were used and 16.13% less area was destroyed by excavators on very steep terrain. In order to reduce the environmental damage on the forest ecosystem, especially in steep terrains, hydraulic excavators should replace bulldozers in forest road construction activities.

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