The H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest can be divided into two zones of approximately equal area, each with strikingly different susceptibilities to erosion by rapid soil movements. A stable zone occurs at elevations above 900 to 1,000 m in terrain underlain by lava-flow bed rock. Since logging and road cutting began in 1950, only two small road-related slides have taken place in the stable zone. In contrast, the unstable zone, located at elevations below 1,000 m and underlain by altered volcaniclastic rock, has been the site of 139 slides during the same period.
Slide erosion from clear-cut areas in the unstable zone has totaled 6,030 m3/km2, or 2.8 times the level of activity in forested areas of the unstable zone. Along road rights-of-way, slide erosion has been 30 times greater than on forested sites in the unstable zone; however, only about 8 percent of a typical area of deforested land in the unstable zone is in road right-of-way. At comparable levels of development (8 percent roads, 92 percent clear-cut), road right-of-way and clear-cut areas contribute about equally to the total impact of management activity on erosion by landslides in the unstable zone. The combined management impacts in the unstable zone (assuming 8 percent road right-of-way and 92 percent clear-cut) appear to have increased slide activity on road and clear-cut sites by about 5 times relative to forested areas over a period of about 20 yr.
*Present address: USDA Forest Service, Institute of Northern Forestry, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701
- Geological Society of America