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Open AccessArticle

Estimating Soil Displacement from Timber Extraction Trails in Steep Terrain: Application of an Unmanned Aircraft for 3D Modelling

1
Department of Forest Technology, Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute, P.O. Box 115, 1431 Ås, Norway
2
Department of Forest Resources, Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute, P.O. Box 115, 1431 Ås, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2014, 5(6), 1212-1223; https://doi.org/10.3390/f5061212
Received: 22 April 2014 / Revised: 20 May 2014 / Accepted: 27 May 2014 / Published: 10 June 2014
Skid trails constructed for timber extraction in steep terrain constitute a serious environmental concern if not well planned, executed and ameliorated. Carrying out post-harvest surveys in monitoring constructed trails in such terrain is an onerous task for forest administrators, as hundreds of meters need to be surveyed per site, and the quantification of parameters and volumes is largely based on assumptions of trail symmetry and terrain uniformity. In this study, aerial imagery captured from a multi-rotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicle was used in generating a detailed post-harvest terrain model which included all skid trails. This was then compared with an Airborne Laser Scanning derived pre-harvest terrain model and the dimensions, slopes and cut-and-fill volumes associated with the skid trails were determined. The overall skid trail length was 954 m, or 381 m·ha−1 with segments varying from 40–60 m, inclinations from 3.9% to 9.6%, and cut volumes, from 1.7 to 3.7 m3 per running meter. The methods used in this work can be used in rapidly assessing the extent of disturbance and erosion risk on a wide range of sites. The multi-rotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was found to be highly suited to the task, given the relatively small size of harvested stands, their shape and their location in the mountainous terrain. View Full-Text
Keywords: skid trails; UAV; terrain model; logging skid trails; UAV; terrain model; logging
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Pierzchała, M.; Talbot, B.; Astrup, R. Estimating Soil Displacement from Timber Extraction Trails in Steep Terrain: Application of an Unmanned Aircraft for 3D Modelling. Forests 2014, 5, 1212-1223.

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