Evaluation of soil compaction caused by passages of farm tractor in a forest in southern Italy
¹ Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, Department of AGRARIA, Feo di Vito, IT89122 – Reggio Calabria, Italy
² Regional Department Agriculture, Cittadella Regionale – Germaneto – IT88100 Catanzaro, Italy
In recent decades, the use of heavy machinery in forest management has significantly increased, causing the compaction, that often remains for many years and may contribute to a decline in long-term site productivity. Severity of the damage depends on vehicle mass, weight of the carried loads, ground morphology, and soil properties, such as moisture. In Southern Italy, timber extraction is mainly done by farm tractors and the study was carried out in a conifer stand to evaluate the changes in penetration resistance, the water content, the bulk density and the porosity, after different numbers passes 0 (control), 1, 5, 10 and 15 respectively, of one farm tractor (Landini – Landpower 135 TDI). The results indicated that all parameters were significantly higher in the trafficked soil portions rather than in the undisturbed ones. We can conclude that a significant relationship was observed between compaction degree and traffic intensity. In fact, the passage of forestry machines causes soil compaction, leading to significant changes in the soil structure and moisture conditions.