The Impact of Caterpillar Logging Tractors on the Undergrowth in the Mountain Forests of the Ukrainian Carpathians

R.M. Viter


The application of harvesting technologies with caterpillar logging tractors greatly disturbs the environmental functions of forests as well as leads to significant changes in the components of forest ecosystems such as damage and destruction of undergrowth, transformation of soil and other negative consequences. Consequently, the aim of the study is to examine the impact of such harvesting technologies on the state of regrowth of commercially valuable tree species. The authors used the experimental records of undergrowth for 17 research and production sites (main logging areas) at five state forestry enterprises such as Osmolodskomu, Slavske, Beregomet, Rakhiv and Khust in the region of the Ukrainian Carpathians. Recording of the undergrowth was made by the method of P. Molotkov. Results of the study have revealed that natural regrowth at the clearfellings consists of commercially valuable species (spruce, beech, fir, sycamore, ash, elm sporadically, sessile oak, cherry, sweet chestnut) and secondary (aspen, birch, goat willow, mountain ash). As to the space structure of the regrowth, it has uniform and relatively uniform arrangement of the area. The seedlings at the sites of interest have been classified according to state categories, and the degree of damage in terms of altitude groups has been analysed. It has been established that quantitative measures of damaged and destroyed woody plants grow with increasing height of seedlings. The data of distribution of natural regeneration by type of damage (stem, crown and roots) has been given. The conclusions are as follows. The percentage of intact seedlings at the clearfellings is quite high and makes about 78.5 %. A number of damaged plants increases with the height of regrowth. The highest preservation of natural regeneration has been found in the group of small seedlings (84.6 %) and the lowest is in the group of high seedlings (75 %). Therefore, it is advisable to consider the small group of seedlings in the process of natural regeneration of the clearfellings. Damages of stems of woody plants make the largest proportion of 62 %. Damages to roots make 27 %, and the least common crown damages make 11 %.


caterpillar logging tractors; cutting areas; undergrowth; influence; state; damages; height groups

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