Effects of recreational use on forested sites

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Date of Original Version



Impact of recreational activities on soil and vegetation was evaluated in eight forested camping and picnic areas in southern Rhode Island. Forest vegetation consists of mixed-oak and white pine stands. Soils are of granitic glacial till or outwash origin and textures range from loamy sand to find sandy loam. Recreational use resulted in significant compaction of soils as indexed by soil penetration resistance and bulk density. Evidence indicates that compaction influences bulk densities to a depth of about 12.7 cm. Rates of water infiltration are less on recreation areas. Soil water accretion and depletion during the growing season are less rapid on recreation sites than on control sites. Differences are attributed to reduced infiltration, percolation, and rooting activity. Much of the ground surface on recreation areas is devoid of vegetation. The surface consists primarily of bare mineral soil, rock, or litter. The plants most commonly present are grasses. Native ground cover vegetation including tree seedlings, ericaceous shrubs and herbs has been eliminated or greatly reduced by trampling. Damage to tree trunks is common in recreation areas. White pine radial growth and scarlet oak height growth were significantly less on recreation sites. Scarlet oak appears intolerant to heavy recreation use. © 1977 Springer-Verlag, New York, Inc.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Environmental Management