Effects of Forestry Streamside Management Zones on Stream Water Quality, Channel Geometry, Soil Erosion, and Timber Management in the Virginia Piedmont
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The major study objectives include determining if a 50-foot streamside management zone (SMZ) as described in the Virginia BMP Manual (VDOF 2002) is generally sufficient to protect stream water quality, riparian soils, and stream bank integrity in headwater streams where forest harvesting has taken place, as well as comparing other SMZ widths with regard to the same environmental protection performance. In 2003, 16 forested watersheds were clear-cut harvested for commercial timber production. Four SMZ treatments were installed across four experimental blocks during harvest. Each of the 16 watersheds was subsequently site-prepared with prescribed burning and planted with loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Within the watersheds, the established treatments were a 100-foot width with no thinning, a 50-foot width without thinning, a 50-foot width with thinning, and a 25-foot "stringer.â Each of the four treatments was conducted within three of four blocks (Incomplete Block Design). After a two-year post-harvest monitoring period, it was determined that the SMZ treatments had no significant effect on water quality, channel geometry, or soil erosion in and around the streams. There was no apparent water quality degradation as a result of harvesting timber, and larger SMZs did not have an impact on any of the parameters studied. It was also apparent that leaving narrower SMZs or thinning within SMZs did not cause any apparent environmental degradation. It was also determined that landowners who leave SMZs on their property have very limited opportunities to manage timber within them for financial gain in the long term.
- Doctoral Dissertations 
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