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Maintain or restore soil quality: Protect soils during harvests

Adaptation Strategies and Actions

Maintain or restore soil quality: Protect soils during harvests

Adaptation type: 
Land and forest stewardship or restoration


Maintain or restore soil quality


Protect soils during harvests
Active forest management can be a very effective tool to increase forest resiliency by favoring tree species predicted to do well in a changing climate and by increasing the complexity of the forest structure (the parts and layers of the forest). If you decide to move forward with forest management, it is critical to minimize soil disturbance and erosion during and after the timber harvest to ensure that the integrity of the soil and water are maintained.

Best Management Practices Manual

Under changing climate conditions, forests may be more prone to extreme weather events that lead to drought or flooding, which can be detrimental to forest soils. Minimizing the impacts to soil and water can be achieved through proper planning of skid roads, timing of the work, and "buttoning" the site up after the job with water bars and seeding exposed soil. Many of the harvests in Massachusetts are conducted when the ground is frozen and snow-covered to minimize soil impacts; however, these conditions are predicted to become less common under future climate change.  As such, it is critical that forestry best management practices designed to protect soil quality are employed.

A consulting forester can help you develop a strong contract with loggers that includes language about minimizing soil disturbance and requires Massachusetts Forestry Best Management Practices. A consulting forester can then supervise the timber harvest to make sure that the requirements of the contract are being met. It is also possible for a private forester to require a performance bond to ensure the work is done according to the contract and, if not, pay someone to properly stabilize the site.

Scope and Constraints

Ongoing action
Minimal or no cost


Forestry Goal 1: Maintain forest cover and function

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