Soil compaction from human trampling, biking, and off-road motor vehicle traffic was quantitatively investigated in a blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima) shrubland in Kyle Canyon of the Spring Mountains in southern Nevada. A significant difference was detected in soil compaction, bulk density, and percent pore space at a particular frequency of visits in each of 4 disturbance types. On average a single vehicle pass was equivalent to 10 human footprints. Ten and 100 footprints were equivalent to 1 motorcycle pass and 10 vehicle passes, respectively. Soil compaction is a product of increased bulk density and decreased pore space. The degree of soil compaction is a function of disturbance type and visit frequency when examining these 2 factors independently. However, interactive effects of disturbance type and visit frequency on soil bulk density, compaction, and percent pore space were not significantly different. The greatest effects occurred during the first few passes, with changes per pass decreasing as the number of passes increased in all 4 trails. Results of this study suggest that the effects of hiking and biking slowly increase over time relative to the effects of motor vehicle traffic in the Coleogyne shrubland of Kyle Canyon in southern Nevada.
Lei, Simon A.
"Soil compaction from human trampling, biking, and off-road motor vehicle activity in a blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima) shrubland,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 64
, Article 15.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol64/iss1/15