Long-term soil productivity study

Project number: EP 1148

District: Rocky Mountain and Selkirk Forest Districts


  • To quantify the effects of soil disturbance on soil productivity
  • To validate standards and methods for soil quality monitoring
  • To understand the fundamental relationships between soil properties, long-term productivity, and forest management practices
  • To evaluate the potential for mitigating the adverse effects of disturbance

Experimental design

The study is a randomized complete block, with three replications per subzone.


At each site, ten treatments are being tested:

  Trees only removed Slash removed Forest floor (all OM removed)
No compaction X X X
Intermediate compaction X X X
Heavy compaction X X X
Rehabilitated heavy compaction     X


  • Ten plots, each approximately 40 m x 70 m are established at each location
  • All plots are harvested such that no measurable machine traffic occurs within the plot area
  • Treatments are randomly assigned to each plot
  • Compaction was achieved in the East Kootenay using a hoe pack on an excavator, and at Rover Creek using a crawler tractor
  • The rehabilitation plot is treated by fluffing with an excavator bucket and organic matter is replaced on half of the plot
  • Variations in treatments are developed if appropriate for the location. For example, at Rover Creek, additional plots were created where stump removal was prescribed for root rot control in one plot, and Hypholoma fasiculare inoculation for root rot control was added in another plot
  • The plots are planted with species appropriate for the site. In the East Kootenay, lodgepole pine and Douglas-fir were prescribed, and at Rover Creek, western white pine and Douglas-fir were prescribed
  • Sites are established over several years to minimize the effects of unusual weather in one year


  • 1999 Mud Creek established
  • 2000 Mud Creek planted
  • 2000 Emily Creek established
  • 2001 Emily Creek Planted
  • 2001 Kootenay East established
  • 2002 East Kootenay planted
  • 2002 Rover Creek established


USDA FS, 2001, Long-Term Soil Productivity Research: A Program in Sustaining Forest Ecosystems.  USDA FS Brochure FS-714


This study is part of an international cooperative study. Cooperators include USDA Forest Service, Canadian Forestry Service, B.C. Ministry of Forests, Selkirk College, University of Alberta, Tembec Industries, Kalesnikoff Lumber, and Michigan Technical University.

Other study sites in BC are; IDF (Kamloops), SBS (Cariboo, Prince Rupert, and Prince George), and SBWBS (Dawson Creek). The Rover Creek Installation is a replicate of an ICH installation at Priest River that was established in 1992.