On April 10, 1872, the seeds of Arbor Day were sown in Nebraska, a state more commonly associated with prairies than forests, when J. Sterling Morton proposed the idea of a day dedicated to planting trees. A million trees were planted in that state on the first Arbor Day, and the success of the event led to the celebration of Arbor Day in all 50 states. However, when the topic of planting trees is discussed at Alliance Tire, our thoughts drift to the role delicate woodland soils and our tires play in the growth of trees.
Soil is So Important
Healthy soils directly affect the overall well being of the forest, since soil is responsible for providing trees with water and nutrients. Soil health is especially crucial in logged forests since the movement of machinery can damage the delicate forest floor by compacting the soil, which has a negative impact on water absorption, nutrient availability, and erosion. Logging operations that don’t minimize their impact on woodland soils will slow forest regeneration, reduce tree growth, and cost themselves money in the long run.
Felling, skidding, and forwarding all cause compaction unless the ground is frozen. In wet and particularly susceptible soils—those with a high clay content, for example—logging equipment can cause rutting in addition to compaction, further compounding the problem. Ruts are especially foul, as they disrupt water infiltration and underground water movement. Furthermore, ruts can cause flooding and quicken the erosion of topsoil. Although operating on frozen ground is the surest way to avoid compaction and rutting, Alliance and Primex have solutions that can help extend your operating time in the woods while minimizing your impact, even when the weather isn’t cooperating.
Fight Back with Flotation
One of the easiest ways logging operations can reduce compaction in forest soils is with the use of flotation tires like the Primex LogStomper Super High Flotation. Flotation tires work by increasing the tire’s footprint, spreading the weight of the machine over a larger area and reducing the pressure exerted on the ground.
Machines equipped with high flotation tires can also reduce rutting on logging roads, which is not only good for the forest but good for a business’s bottom line. Less rutting results in quicker and easier travel, in addition to less time spent repairing or building new roads. An added benefit of the wide footprint found on flotation tires is increased traction, which reduces tearing up fragile soils and can lead to improved fuel efficiency. In the end, using flotation tires in delicate soils means logging operations can spend less and make more.
It might seem odd to talk about harvesting trees on a day devoted to planting them, but as a sustainable material, the entire lifecycle of trees—and the forest as a whole—is important. More so, everything we do today can have a lasting impact on those in the future. As J. Sterling Morton once said, “Arbor Day is not like other holidays. Each of those reposes on the past, while Arbor Day proposes for the future.”
If you would like to learn more about how our Alliance and Primex flotation forestry tires can benefit your operation and the forests you work in, contact your local Alliance Tire Group dealer today.