Forest stand decomposition of the Silesian Beskids which is followed by the tree cutting has been observed since the beginning of the 21st century. Changes in forest management due to the introduction of heavy machines for forest work mainly for skidding have been observed in the Silesian Beskids for the last decade. The paper presents results of a three-year investigation of erosion gullies forming in mountain forest after the skidding performed with use of heavy equipment. In the Wilczy Potok catchment comprising an area of above 100 ha 40 gullies were identified. The measurement of the length and depth of gullies showed that the total volume of soil and rock material removed from the catchment area due to erosion accelerated by skidding exceeded 9 000 m3. The year erosion rate for deep gullies was found to be 10%. The presented results show that necessary protective actions and preventive measures should be taken to mitigate the soil degradation processes.
Heavy metal (As, Mn, Ni, Sn, Ti) concentrations were determined in soil and plant samples collected in different areas of the railway junction Iława Główna, Poland. Soil and plant samples were collected in four functional parts of the junction, i.e. the loading ramp, main track within the platform area, rolling stock cleaning bay and the railway siding. Four plant species occurring in relatively higher abundance were selected for heavy metals analysis, although in the loading ramp and platform areas only one species could be collected in the amount which makes chemical analysis possible. The selected species included three perennials (Daucus carota, Pastinaca sativa and Taraxacum officinale) and one annual plant (Sonchus oleraceus). The entire area of the railway junction showed elevated concentrations of heavy metals when compared to the control level. It was most pronounced for the platform area and railway siding. The concentration of arsenic, manganese and nickel in plants growing in these parts of the junction exceeded the toxic level. The highest contamination of soil and plants found in the platform area suggested advanced emission process of the analyzed metals from wheel and track abrasion. Literature review showed that the concentration of the investigated metals in soil was generally higher than that found in centers of cities and along traffic roads proving that the railway is an important linear source of soil contamination