Impacts of Road Dust on Forest Soils and Roadside Vegetation:
To evaluate the effect of road surface dust on forest soils and roadside vegetation. Specifically the influence of limestone on native acidic soils.
Penn State Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies. This was a Masters of Science thesis by a former Center employee.
The study was completed in 2008. The write up was completed in 2009.
Several forested roadsides in Central Pennsylvania were studied to determine the effect of fugitive dust on the surrounding soils and vegetation. The study found that soil chemistry and plant species were influenced from all types of roads, with the greatest effect happening close to the roadway. The study also found that dust from limestone roads had a more significant effect on soil chemistry and led to an increase of exotic and invasive species along the roadside.
Dust from one of the roads in the study is blown into the surrounding forest.
Study Write-up: complete thesis (1.2Mb)