Erosion control around log landings
This web article explains
how landowners, loggers, and foresters can develop log landings
that minimize sediment runoff during a timber harvest.
1. Create log landings so water cannot flow directly into a stream
2. Keep water off the landing and debris away from drainage zones
3. Prevent mud from being carried onto adjacent roadways
Landings are open areas used for
processing and stacking logs before they are loaded onto a log
truck. It is the "front room" of most timber harvests
where machinery is stored and many field decisions are made. More
vehicles drive around landings than any other area during a timber
harvest. With little vegetation and a lot of vehicular traffic,
landings can be prone to erosion. Additionally, landings are often
the most publicly visible portions of the timber harvest.
Fortunately, erosion from log landings
can be controlled effectively without interfering with the function
of the site. Like in other areas of the timber harvest, smaller
amounts of water should be controlled over short distances.
While first planning a timber harvest,
designate a possible the location of the landing.
Use topographic information to identify where old roads exit to
public roads. Check the soil type of the area and seek well-drained
soils with a slight slope. Take information about possibly sensitive
areas into the work site.
Landing best management practices
Use existing landings if they
are properly placed and sized.
Like forest roads, the number of landings should be minimized.
Existing landings should be used if they were designed to control
erosion. They should be free of standing water in all seasons
and sloped to disperse water to vegetated areas and ditches.
Locate new landings on firm,
well-drained soil, as far from water as possible.
There are several ways to prevent soil at log landings from eroding
into streams. New landings should be placed more than 200 feet
from wetlands or streams. If a landing needs to be located near
a stream, which is sometimes unavoidable, logging crews should
install controls, like silt fencing, straw bales, and geotextile
fabrics around the perimeter. Minimize traffic near the stream
edge and add filter strips around the perimeter of the landing.
should be slightly sloping to shed water and keep equipment on
After trees and stumps are cleared as a landing is being built,
make sure the site will have good drainage.
Stabilize areas where heavy
equipment is parked.
Use gravel, logs, or other materials to prevent heavy equipment
from settling down in forest soils. Most forest soils are naturally
soft and uncompacted. Heavy equipment can become bogged down,
leaving small craters and deep ruts.
Log decks and landings should
be kept at minimum size.
The final size of the landing depends on location and how much
timber is being removed from the woodlot. Some landings will be
considered "hot landings" where many logs are stored
and moved off continuously. Enough space should be available for
moving equipment, processing and stacking logs, and loading log
trucks without rutting up the adjacent forest. Landings should
not be any larger than necessary.
where water will drain off the landing and keep it clear of debris.
Residue piles of branches, tops and chips often accumulate at
the edges of landings. These piles should not interfere with landing
Divert water that may enter
from the skid trail.
If the timber harvest site is uphill from the landing, avoid channeling
water toward the landing. Control water and erosion with open
top culverts or skid trail turnouts or turn-ups approaching the
Cull logs can be embedded in the diversion mound, reinforcing
Prevent mud from being tracked
onto public roads from landings.
With trucks and machinery entering and exiting a timber harvest
site at the landing, there are many chances for mud and dirt to
be carried onto a paved public road. This mud tends to wash into
ditches, polluting streams and leaving passers-by with a poor
impression of timber harvesting. In fact, mud on public highways
is one of the primary reasons why towns invoke cutting ordinances.
At the point of exit, create truck pads with wood matting,
rubber mats, or coarse rock to prevent buildup of mud on tires.
Erect signs that support the
importance of timber management.
To improve the public acceptance and understanding of timber harvesting,
logging crews can use a visible landing to promote the timber
industry. Through good workmanship and best management practices,
logging crews can instill a greater sense of public trust, rather