Virtual Tour of the Forest: Water Quality

To view this 360 degree image, move your pointer over the image and click while moving the pointer in the direction you would like to move or use the arrow keys.
To zoom in, press the "Shift" key.
To zoom out, press the "Ctrl" key.

Scientific research in the Blue Ridge Mountains and other places has proven cutting trees does not cause soil erosion. Forest management and timber harvesting can be accomplished without harming the soil or water quality. The key is a well-planned project using proven techniques called "best management practices" or BMP's.

The arrow identifies a small stream, which is protected from sediment runoff by the trees left uncut within the riparian forest buffer.

Trees improve water quality by reducing runoff and erosion. Forests along streams can remove excess nitrogen, filter sediments and reduce phosphorus that would enter streams. Trees along streams hold the soil in place, slow water flow, and filter the water coming from upland areas.

Streamside forest buffers provide canopy cover, which shades and cools the stream, improving habitat conditions for instream organisms such as fish, salamanders, frogs and aquatic insects that are a key link in the food chain.

Timber harvesting usually includes log roads to allow log trucks to enter the area. Skidders, that drag logs to an area called a “landing” where they are then loaded onto trucks, use skid trails.

If the log roads, skid trails, and landings are properly located and constructed then the environment can be protected. Any disturbed soil should be sown to grass after the harvest.

Water Quality - Wildlife | Harvesting