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Foltz, Randy B.; Dooley, James H.. 2004. Wood Strands as an Alternative to Agricultural Straw for Erosion Control. 0423 1302P. San Dimas, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, San Dimas Technology and Development Center. 4 p.

Agricultural straw is used in forested areas of the United States for erosion control on burned areas, harvest landings, decommissioned road prisms, road cuts and fills, and other areas of disturbed soil. However, an increased agronomic and ecological value for straw; an increased utilization for energy production, fiber panels, and other higher value uses; a realization of the potential of a weed and chemical residue source; and a realization of straw as a source of allergens to workers that handle straw have challenged the perceived advantages of agricultural straw. Two blends of wood strands were studied and found to be statistically equal to straw in reducing both runoff and sediment production. Both the straw and each of the wood fiber mixes reduced erosion by 98 percent as compared to the bare soil. This result implies that wood fibers are an acceptable alternative to agricultural straw in erosion control applications. Further work is underway to determine optimum width and length mixes, application rates, and decomposition rates for the wood fibers.

Keywords: biomass, erosion control, use, utilization, wood strands

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