Effects of off-road vehicle activities on plant and soil properties in Canadian ecosystems

The use of off-road vehicles (ORVs) in natural environments has accelerated dramatically over the past few decades, increasing the potential for ecosystem degradation and the need to establish policies and develop technologies that minimize the impacts of ORVs on the environment. Although the environmental consequences from ORVs are known to be highly degrading and a threat to ecosystem integrity and natural functioning, research on the physical and environmental impacts caused by different ORV activities remains limited, specifically those aimed at exploring low-impact technologies. The KXI Wildertec suspension system has been designed to reduce the ground pressure of standard four wheel drive vehicles in an effort to minimize the negative effects on ecosystems. This research will explore the impacts of standard four-wheel drive vehicles and vehicles equipped with the KXI Wildertec suspension system on plant and soil parameters on ecosystems throughout British Columbia. Specifically, this research will answer the following questions: (1) what is the ground pressure exerted by the two vehicles used in this research?; (2) what are the direct impacts of different vehicles on soil and plant community parameters? how are nearby plant communities affected?

Laura Ploughe
Faculty Supervisor: 
Lauchlan Fraser
British Columbia
Partner University: