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Vicksburg, MS, United States

Doyle J.D.,Research Civil Engineer | Howard I.L.,Mississippi State University | Gartrell C.A.,Research Civil Engineer | Anderton G.L.,Engineer Research and Development Center | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Geomechanics | Year: 2014

Matting systems are used for temporary applications on soft soils to reduce ground pressure exerted by aircraft, heavy equipment, vehicles, and construction material. They have been used for military airfields, construction platforms, and similar applications. Previous evaluation studies of matting systems have typically consisted of full-scale testing, with only a limited amount of numerical modeling found in the literature. This paper presents results of full-scale accelerated testing of 21 test sections encompassing five matting systems, five soil-support conditions, and two aircraft loadings. One of the soil-support conditions was instrumented and tested in conjunction with three matting systems and one aircraft loading. Three-dimensional finite-element modeling was performed on the instrumented sections using the measured test data for calibration. Good matches of measured soil stresses were obtained with the model for two of the mats, whereas the model underpredicted stresses in the third mat. Modeling of the type performed in this paper was capable of correctly ranking the performance of the matting systems modeled relative to the full-scale test results. © 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers.

McIver J.,Oregon State University | Brunson M.,Utah State University | Bunting S.,University of Idaho | Chambers J.,Rocky Research | And 15 more authors.
Rangeland Ecology and Management | Year: 2014

The Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project (SageSTEP) is an integrated long-term study that evaluates ecological effects of alternative treatments designed to reduce woody fuels and to stimulate the herbaceous understory of sagebrush steppe communities of the Intermountain West. This synopsis summarizes results through 3 yr posttreatment. Woody vegetation reduction by prescribed fire, mechanical treatments, or herbicides initiated a cascade of effects, beginning with increased availability of nitrogen and soil water, followed by increased growth of herbaceous vegetation. Response of butterflies and magnitudes of runoff and erosion closely followed herbaceous vegetation recovery. Effects on shrubs, biological soil crust, tree cover, surface woody fuel loads, and sagebrush-obligate bird communities will take longer to be fully expressed. In the short term, cool wet sites were more resilient than warm dry sites, and resistance was mostly dependent on pretreatment herbaceous cover. At least 10 yr of posttreatment time will likely be necessary to determine outcomes for most sites. Mechanical treatments did not serve as surrogates for prescribed fire in how each influenced the fuel bed, the soil, erosion, and sage-obligate bird communities. Woody vegetation reduction by any means resulted in increased availability of soil water, higher herbaceous cover, and greater butterfly numbers. We identified several trade-offs (desirable outcomes for some variables, undesirable for others), involving most components of the study system. Trade-offs are inevitable when managing complex natural systems, and they underline the importance of asking questions about the whole system when developing management objectives. Substantial spatial and temporal heterogeneity in sagebrush steppe ecosystems emphasizes the point that there will rarely be a "recipe" for choosing management actions on any specific area. Use of a consistent evaluation process linked to monitoring may be the best chance managers have for arresting woodland expansion and cheatgrass invasion that may accelerate in a future warming climate. © 2014 The Society for Range Management.

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