Soil and Water Impacts of Deforestation *
This chapter describes the land-use change or activity under consideration, before it can estimate its water and soil effects. If machinery is used, there is a marked change in the water and soil impacts and this kind of activity and these associated impacts are dealt with under ‘Mechanized Wood Harvesting’. In addition, however, the exposure of bare soil and its compaction by machinery has effects on water recharge and on speed of delivery to the streams. Soil surface erosion is not usually an important process in the undisturbed forest, but it can occur, as has been shown in tropical rain forests in Australia and in Malaysia. The on-site effects on soil and water are important, particularly as they relate to the ease of obtaining regeneration and the need to maintain nutrients in order to maintain productivity. Banning forest product harvesting on the basis of the harmful soil and water consequences of ‘deforestation’ is aiming at the wrong target.