Soils on Ski Slopes
Vegetation in abandoned ski areas has gradually been replaced by various tree species, indicating that vegetation succession has progressed after termination of mowing work in these areas. Vegetation changes become a major cause of concern for soil erosion and/or landslides due to changes or removal of grass cover. Soils on abandoned ski slopes were surveyed in the Gifu prefecture. Under managed ski runs, high degrees of compaction are conducive to development of high bulk density in soils arising from volcanic precursors (products of Norikura volcano). Low content of organic carbon (C) in the soil indicates removal of top soil during land forming for ski run construction. Weak development of soil structure under conditions of high soil compaction suggests processes of land modification on the skiing grounds. Many large boulders were commonly observed on the soil profiles, indicating that ski runs were constructed to achieve high bearing capacity. Periodic management to maintain the ski slope is essential to keep high trafficability for skiers as well as machines. However, abandoned ski slopes cannot be managed by land forming processes, resulting in loose soil structure caused by random root system development on the compacted subsurface soil layer. Differences in the physical conditions between surface and subsurface soil horizons could induce a landslide.
KeywordsVegetation succession Green infrastructure Mowing Soil erosion
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