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Compressed soil on the logging tracks that are no longer used and in the furrows created by heavy machines should be dug by excavators, starting from the top of the slope, stopping water flowing on them in order to retain the rainwater in the place where it fell allowing it to soak naturally into this dug earth.
Man-made slopes above the unused and already recultivated (dug) compressed areas must be dug as deep as 1,5m in order to let the water discharged from the pores soak into the dug earth, gradually forming new pores to allow the water to flow into lower layers of the ground.

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I have implemented similar measures in Ukraine and in three locations in Slovakia. Measurements carried out by the Slovak Academy of Sciences have proven that not one drop of water has flown out of these areas in the three years’ time since the measures were implemented.

These measures are immediately effective, sustainable and much more important for the nature and mankind than the erection of dams and polders. And the costs are minimal.

Inconceivably dense networks of unused logging tracks and compressed surfaces left after the operation of heavy machinery in forest areas can be found all over Europe. These must be destroyed by digging in order to retain the rainwater immediately in the place where it fell, allowing it to soak gradually into the soil. Implementation of this measure will:Increase the water retention capacity of soil during rains, thus preventing floods and subsequent droughts to a major extent;

  • Prevent soil erosion;
  • Slow down rainwater runoff
  • Revive heads of the streams;
  • Increase water levels in rivers and groundwater sources, which will result in better forest hydrological regimes as well as protect areas from droughts, fires and floods. It will also help to restore biodiversity, stabilise climate and mitigate weather fluctuations. Apart from the feeding of soil and groundwater, it can also be expected that precipitation incidence will become more even.

MEASUREMENTS CONDUCTED BY SLOVAK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES (SAV)

Slovak Academy of Sciences gauged the effectiveness of the water retention capacity of the forests in Ťahanovce. It was crucial to perform comparative measurements on compacted vs roads treated by soil agitation and forests by an independent scientific institution and.

The experiment was conducted on an eroded road formerly used for timber transport. The scientists simulated rainfall with the intensity of 100 mm/m2.

The compacted road hardly absorbed any water. The road treated by ground agitation, as measurements attest, contrived to retain 100% of water.

Outcomes of the measurements carried out by the Slovak Academy of Sciences

Destroying of unused logging tracks by digging and its influence on surface water runoff

“Efficiency rate of this measure in the given conditions was 100%”

The part of the road which had been destroyed by digging was able to absorb the entire volume of the simulated rain (100 mm in 3 hours). As a result, no new surface runoff appeared. Subsurface runoff collected in the bottom gutter located 52 cm under the road surface represented 3.8 % of the overall volume of simulated rain. The subsurface runoff was observed as soon as approximately 1 hour after the commencement of the artificial rain and it lasted for some 7 hours (i.e. from 3:08 pm to 10:20 pm). Average volume of water retained in the pores of the soil forming the surface of the road for a longer time was 16 %. Most of the artificial rainwater (almost 80%) thus managed to soak into the lower layers of the road basement through incompact soil.
This proves that the efficiency of the measure regarding the surface runoff in the given conditions was 100%.

Influence of the undestroyed logging tracks on surface water runoff

The experiment has proven that the undestroyed logging tracks play a major role in the forming of surface water runoff. Most of the rainwater (here 81% of the simulated rainwater volume, Fig. 1) that falls on the ground does not soak into the ground but flows away along the surface.
Subsurface runoff collected in the bottom gutter located 52 cm under the road surface represented only 0.5 % of the cumulative volume of simulated rain. This runoff could be observed in the measuring gutter 3 hours after the start of the experiment and lasted for 12 hours (from 4:00 pm to 4:00 am). Most of the water infiltrating through the untreated road surface was retained in the pores of the soil forming the surface of the road for a longer time (approx. 18%, calculated as the difference between the soil moisture levels before and after the experiment multiplied by the approximate volume of the surface soil layer), or soaked through the soil basement to the layers located more than 75 cm lower (100 % – 81 % – 0.5 % -18 % = 0.5 %).

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Water retained in the “holes” soaks gradually into the ground, feeding groundwater resources.

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In the spring, soon after the destroying of the roads, plants are coming back to life :)

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The compressed forest road “disappeared” a year after it has been destroyed.

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REPEJOV – GPS mapping of the destroyed compressed surfaces/forest roads – orange colour

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OĽKA - GPS locating of the destroyed compressed surfaces/forest roads

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AHANOVCE - GPS locating of the destroyed compressed surfaces/forest roads