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Bjørn Akre1

1 Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Forestry, Norway.


This paper discusses national measures, regulations and guidelines for the construction of forest roads as part of the national forest policy programme. It makes reference to Norway where a national grant programme for forest road construction was initiated in 1934.

With the existing forest ownership structure in Norway (125 000 forest owners with holdings averaging 56 ha of productive forest) the governmental forest road construction programme has been a major cause of the national forest policy scheme.

Change of harvesting/transportation methods and equipment, increasing environmental consideration and public multiple use have all resulted in regularly updating governmental measures to promote and ascertain proper construction procedures.

Statutory provisions

Forest road construction activities in Norway are regulated through various statutes

1. The Forest and Forest Protection Act

The Act with its latest amendments in 1993 gives the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Forestry (Ministry) the right to establish regulations governing road planning and road construction, including the right to refuse any construction activity without a plan being submitted and approved by the forest authority. The forest authority may refuse to approve the plan if it detects that the construction may impair the natural environment or cause negative impacts on outdoor recreation.

2. The Nature Conservation Act

The Nature Conservation Act provides procedures for preserving specific areas of particular environmental value under various degrees of protection, as national parks, nature reserves, landscape protection areas, nature monuments, etc. Depending on the land classification, road construction may be totally banned, or special restrictions may be applied.

3. The Building and Planning Act

In principle, all Norwegian forest lands are protected from non-forestry development through the provisions of this Act and the municipal land-use plans. The municipal authorities, through the municipal land-use plans, specify the main directions for the use and development of all land areas, as urban development, farming, forest production, etc., and if, any special restrictions should be applied.

The Ministry has in this respect issued directions to the local agricultural authorities on how future forest operational areas should be secured through these municipal land-use plans through proper planning procedures, including strategies for existing and future forest road developments and in close cooperation with the local communities.

4. The Open Air Act

The Act contains provisions that affect land and resource management, and allows the public free access to state and private owned forest land and forest roads by foot or bicycle. If the owner has physically closed the forest road by gates or other means, public driving by car is prohibited or may be allowed through toll payment. The forest owner may be liable for any damage to the public user of the road if an existing unforeseen problem on the road causes this damage. Both improper construction and severe lack of maintenance may consequently influence the results of a possible court case.

5. The Cultural Heritage Act

Through this Act the road planner is obliged to explore and examine any evidence of any cultural heritage in the area of road construction prior to road location. Any road plan must be submitted to the responsible authority for approval. This authority may prohibit any construction activity or propose alternative road location even if such cultural heritage may be detected during the construction stage.

6. The Road Traffic Act

The Act allows the local public road authority to close off a private forest road or order the owner to put up adequate public standard warning signs if they consider the road dangerous for use. The local public road authority has to approve any forest road take-off or junction with a public road.

7. The Agricultural Land Exchange Act

The Act gives the majority owners in a forest area consisting of several property owners the right to establish a joint forest road across all the properties, with costs shared by all owners affected, if the optimum management of the area requires the establishment of such a joint road.

Economic measures

The national economic support schemes for forest road construction must be seen in relation to the small ownership patterns and the need for joint ownership road construction in order to make the productive forest areas available for economic extraction. A large portion of our productive forest is located in steep and difficult terrain where road building costs are high, but where a relatively dense road system is essential for making harvesting economically feasible.

1. National Subsidy Programme

Direct financial support to forest road construction is available through various sources, a regular item in the annual Central Government budget adopted by the Parliament and administered by the Ministry, through yearly allocations from the Agricultural Development Fund (LUF), and from the District Development Fund if so decided by the County Governor's Forestry Section (CG). The allocations from LUF are directed toward districts with low-income potentials. The National Forest Service at county level is responsible for disbursement and control.

Indirectly, financial support is available through income tax advantages for investments made in forest road construction. It should be mentioned that economic and ecological feasibility is a prerequisite for qualifying for financial support.

For some years no-interest loans for forest road construction were available to the larger forest owners. This scheme is no longer available.

1.1 Form of subsidy

The subsidy is formed as a grant payment calculated as a percentage of the total verified costs. The Ministry distributes the annual allocations from the Central Government and LUF budgets to the CG, who stipulates the rates based on regional advisory guidelines established by the Ministry, and makes payments based on current accountancy reports.

Grants may be offered for new construction of forest truck and tractor roads and for the rebuilding of existing roads resulting in a higher road standard.

All forest owners are eligible for grants on woodland where forestry may be economically operated. The grant programme has a district-oriented profile.

Subsidy priorities are given to

· main access roads;

· large, joint road projects in areas with difficult employment situation and where considerable forest resources may be made available by the road project;

· areas where the forests are damaged or threatened to be damaged by natural disasters.

· areas where environmental considerations are important and may cause considerable additional construction cost.

1.2 Subsidy payments

The rates applied vary between regions and according to the established priorities. The maximum grant rates are:

· northern Norway

75 %

· Western Norway and mountainous districts

60 %

· typical forestry regions

40 %

About 75 percent of the total grant is being used in areas outside the typical forestry regions. The budget allocation for 1996 amounts to NKr 65 million (US$ 10 million), which is on a lowering trend. The yearly variations since 1985 have been NKr 65-113 million, averaging between 36 and 42 percent of the total road construction investment made.

As the majority of the roads receiving financial support are joint ownership projects, the average annual subsidy per forest owner only amounts to about NKr 15 000-20 00 (US$ 2 500). This corresponds to about NKr 10 (US$ 1.60) per cubic metre harvested within the tributary road area, or about 3 percent of the gross product sale value.

Only 10 percent of forest road building is financed without any support from the grant programme.

Tax concessions in forestry

Forestry activities are taxed in principle as other economic activities, either as a separate income source or in combination with other income activities that the forest owner may have. However, due to the particular circumstances in the forestry trade, tax adjustments are made for forest owners to promote long-range investments in forestry. The Norwegian forest owners may make use of two special tax assessments:

· the Forest Trust Fund;
· the 5-year Average Tax Assessment.

Both assessments make reference to the Property and Income Tax Act of 1911, administered by the Ministry of Finance. In addition, the Forest Trust Fund policy makes reference to the Forestry Act with its amendments, and various regulations established by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture, but is being administered by the latter. The National Forest Service has the overall responsibility for managing and authorizing the use of the funds.

1. The Forest Trust Fund

The Forest Trust Fund is a mandatory forest investment scheme to encourage long-range private investments in forestry based on sustainable management of the forest resources.

The Forestry Act requires all forest owners to place into the Fund from 5 to 25 percent of the gross roundwood sale value. At the time of sale, the buyer automatically deducts a pre-decided percentage from the sale receipts. This amount is deposited in the forest owner trust fund account in his local bank. The money may be used for specified forestry investments, like road construction.

Long-range forest investments may be fully written off at the time of investment and deducted from the income tax return the year the investment is made. The amount disbursed from the Fund Account for this investment is considered as taxable income the year the disbursement is made. However, only a certain percentage of the investment is considered as taxable income, depending on the size of the investment made, varying from 65 percent for investments up to NKr 50 000 (US$ 8 000) to 95 percent for investments exceeding NKr 500 000 (US$ 80 000).

Larger investments may require several years of accumulation on the Fund Account prior to making the investment. This entails that the forest owner receives an interest-free tax credit.

The forest owner does not receive any interest on the trust fund. According to the Forestry Act, the interest will be used for the benefit of Norwegian forestry at municipal, county, or national levels.

The Forest Trust Fund was initiated in 1932, but established in its present system in 1965. Of the total of 125 000 forest owners in Norway, 122 000 were registered in the Fund in 1994, while 19 000 made use of their potential tax advantages through disbursements from their Forest Trust Fund account.

In 1994, the amount disbursed on a national basis from the Forest Trust Fund Accounts to investments eligible for tax advantages totalled NKr 168 million (US$ 26 million) The non-taxable amount involved totalled NKr 53 million (US$ 8 million). The subsidies involved depend on the individual owners tax rates and have not been calculated.

2. Average tax assessment

The yearly income tax for the forest owner is based on the average income over the last five years. The system implies that it is not necessary to obtain equal yearly incomes to eliminate the consequences of progressive taxation. It entails that the marginal tax percentage may be reduced compared to other income groups, where the single last year income is the basis for taxation. The method also implies that the forest owners receive a two-year tax credit.

Policy regulations/directives

1. "Regulation on Grant Payments for Forest Road Construction"

The regulation specifies that forest truck roads eligible for grants must be planned and built according to the road standards with technical and construction method specifications set by the Ministry, and must allow for loaded log truck traffic during the summer season except for thawing periods and periods with excessive rainfalls. Environmental, as well as multiple-use aspects, must be considered when selecting road standard and construction methods. The District Forester must approve the road location prior to the construction start-up.

Planning requirements are specified, including a project description under the environmental standards as outlined by the Ministry, and a financial programme with approved bookkeeping procedures. Construction specifications and relevant information on the participants of the road project are required. References are made to the need of approval procedures before construction start-up.

Procedures and conditions for grant application and payments, as well as control and accounting requirements, are specified. A summary accounting report must be submitted at the end of the year or upon completion of the road.

Additional requirements include:

a) future maintenance routines;

b) free road use by officials from the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture;

c) sustainable harvesting and reforestation of woodland tributary to the road system, including an estimate of predicted volume to be harvested within an 8-year period (may be excepted under certain conditions).

With reference to point a), the participants of joint ownership roads must establish a road maintenance association which decides individual maintenance shares, toll or road fees, responsibilities and operational and payment routines.

With regard to control requirements, the District Forester at the community level must make an inspection of the completed road, prior to issuing a completion certificate, to assure that the road has been built according to the approved plan and the requirements set in this regulation. An Inspection/Result Control form, including an instruction for filling out this form, has been prepared by the Ministry to assure that all aspects are considered. The form refers to accomplishments regarding planning and hearing procedures, documented environmental considerations, construction specifications, etc. The form must be submitted to the CG.

If control measures reveal that the conditional requirements are not met, the National Forest Service may claim grant repayment including interest.

1.1 Subsidy distribution key

A set of priorities has been outlined by the Ministry to guide the CG when distributing the funds available to the individual forest road projects. A national "subsidy distribution key", including a point rating calculation with supplementary comments, has been worked out by the Ministry in order to secure a mutual understanding and treatment of the applications, based on the set of priorities made.

A rule of thumb for an initial evaluation of a road project being eligible for grant payments is that the sum of the estimated logging costs within the road tributary area and the road building costs in NKr/m3 should be from 50 to 150 percent of the pulpwood sale unit price in NKr/m3.

2. "Regulation on Planning and Approval of Forest Roads"

The regulation is established pursuant to the Forestry Act with its amendments. The objective of this regulation is to ensure that planning and construction of forest roads result in a comprehensive solution when establishing a forest road system where all aspects of forest management within the tributary forested area are considered, including environmental values biodiversity, landscape features, cultural heritage, historical artefacts and recreational use.

The regulation emphasizes the obligation to submit road plans to the community authorities. specifies the contents of the plan, outlines procedures for public hearing and the participation of the local people in the decision process and procedures for possible terms set for the road construction phase.

The regulation on planning and approval of forest roads is attached as Annex 1 to this paper.

2.1 "Advanced Notice on Road Construction"

Pursuant to the Planning and Approval Regulation, the forest owner(s) that intend to build a forest road must give advance notice to the local community authority, independently from the application for subsidy support submitted to the CG.

The information needed is specified on a standard form, and includes productive forest area tributary to the road, estimated volumes to be cut in the next 10 year period, road cost estimate and cost benefits related to management and transport aspects. Guides are given on how the cost-benefit calculation should be made. Specific environmental values must be included and specified on a map attached to the notice.


To secure that optimum long-range benefits are gained from the official economic incentives and that all environmental aspects are considered, the Ministry has issued certain forest road standards, including descriptions of technical specifications and construction methods.

1. Forest roads standards

The first common national forest road standards were drawn up in 1960 in collaboration between the Forest Owners' Association and the Machine Entrepreneurs' Organization with the approval from the Ministry. The standards have been revised regularly with the latest revision, including description of technical specifications and construction methods, made by the Ministry in 1980. Later amendments and regulations have further emphasized the use of quality road-building material and the application of environmental measures through revised construction methods, but without changing the technical specifications.

The national forest road standards cover both truck and tractor roads and include six different road classes:

Class I

All-year truck road, which later will be included in the public road system, constructed in cooperation with the Department of Highways.

The class is practically no longer applied.

Class II

All year truck road with considerable year-round log traffic except in the spring thawing period. The road is built as extension to public roads and both alignment and surfacing allow for relative high speed without interruptions by meeting traffic and loading operations.

Minimum requirement to roadway width is 4.0 m with 0.5 m tapering shoulder on each side. The road must support a single axle load of 10 tons.

Only about 2 percent of our forest roads are built as Class II roads. The construction is limited to flat land areas. Construction costs are too high considering the benefits obtained.

Class III

All-year truck road, with alignment and load weight provisions allowing transport of full loads except for the spring thaw and excessive rainfall periods.

Minimum requirement to roadway width is 3.5 m with 0.5 m tapering shoulder on each side. The road must support a single axle load of 10 t. Gradients are limited to maximum 12 percent.

75-80 percent of our forest truck roads are built according to Class III standards. The Class III standard is attached as Annex 2 to this presentation.

Class IV

Seasonal truck road, only to be used in the summer season without snow- and ice-covered surface. The Class IV road is intended for limited areas where both transport distance and volumes dictate the use of truck transport, but where steep terrain conditions or economic reasons prevent road grades allowing all-year transport.

The requirements for Class IV road are very similar to Class III road, but gradients may reach 14 percent in the loaded direction and 18 percent in the empty direction. The roadway width is equal to that of Class III up to 14 percent gradients, but extended to 4.0 m on gradients between 14 and 18 percent.

15-20 percent of our forest truck roads are built according to Class IV standards.

Class V

Winter truck road only, where the weight-bearing capacity is based on frozen ground (thaw) and packed snow. Class IV is limited to regions with stable winter weather conditions and in areas with long transport distances, where logging operations are conducted in intervals of several years and the economy prevents the construction of all-year truck roads.

The Class V road is an excellent alternative in areas with sensitive environmental conditions as there is practically no ground or vegetative disturbance.

Class VI

Tractor roads in locations where they remain as part of the permanent forest road system. The road must allow for transport with tractor and trailers. Skid roads are not considered as Class VI roads. In general these roads should allow for all-year transport except for the rainy season.

About 50 percent of our total yearly forest road construction length is Class VI roads.

1.1 Description of construction methods

The road standards contain a technical specification section, which refers to width and design of roadway, subgrade and shoulders, ballast and surfacing depth, curve radius, gradients, depth and width of ditches, etc., and a section describing the construction method to be applied.

The objective of describing the construction method is to secure adequate long-range road quality and proper attention to the aspects related to environmental considerations, area recreational use, etc.

References are made to how the clearing and grubbing should be done, how the subgrade should be constructed, including cut and fill slopes, ditches and drainage. The construction of the road base is described, including material, use and application of base course (ballast) and wearing course. Supplementary work descriptions include rock and gravel pit treatments, debris disposal, etc.

The description of the construction method as applied to Road Class III may be seen in Annex 2.

1.2 "Environmental Code of Forest Road Construction Practices"

To concretize the environmental and multiple-use concept in relation to forest road construction, the Ministry initiated a project with the objective of producing a practical instruction guide for forest road construction practices emphasizing the environmental aspects involved. The target group was all persons that are involved in forest road planning, construction and control of forest roads - road planners, official and private consultants, road contractors and forest owners.

The guide Environmental Code of Forest Road Construction Practices was printed in 1991 and is presently referred to as part of the contract requirements of all forest road construction projects. The guide contains photos and sketches to illustrate undesirable and desirable solutions for the various phases of forest road planning and road construction, including clearance work, contract and construction compliance and control, maintenance and reconstruction of older roads. The guide also covers environmental aspects related to tractor and winter road construction.

The planning section of the guide shows examples of adapting the road location to various landscape border zones - steep/flat land, vegetation cover, water, wetland, etc. - and of adjusting the alignment to existing terrain formations, alternating grades and curvatures.

The construction section includes aspects related to clearing and grubbing, cut and fill slopes, use of road construction material, treatment of side cast and waste material, visual impact considerations, erosion and drainage, final clean-up, compliance and control.

Reconstruction of older roads is discussed with the objective of minimizing conflict of interests between the forest owner and the public, being that many of these roads usually are located close to urban areas.

A slide programme, containing 80 slides with descriptive comments on each slide, has been prepared for educational use and presentations to local groups of forest owners, etc.

Annex 3 refers to examples of the descriptive comments to some slides in this programme to indicate the topics included.

1.3 Culvert specifications

The specification forms part of the Standard Contract for Road Construction and refers to the technical requirements of culverts in relation to the materials used - reinforced concrete, corrugated metal or plastic. Installation procedures under various ground and material conditions are discussed.

Contract documents

Contractors who have received their road project contract in competition with other bidders are the ones building most forest roads. The competition aspect has been a most important factor for forest road development in Norway during the last 15-20 years. Even if we still experience that the bid price may vary within 2 and 300 percent on a single road project, the competition has resulted in a substantial lower construction cost today than 10-15 years ago. The contractors are forced into using the best possible equipment adapted to the specific operation, handling only the minimum amount of material needed within the specifications set by the contract requirements.

In order to utilize this potential it is of utmost importance that there is a clear understanding between the principal or the forest owner and the contractor on what is expected. This is accomplished through clear contract specifications in addition to standards, project plan profiles, construction description, explanatory meetings, etc.

The Ministry has developed three separate documents related to the aspects of the contract for forest road construction:

· "Advertising for Bids for Construction of Forest Roads"
· "Tender Invitation for Forest Road Construction Projects"
· "Standard Contract for Forest Road Construction"

1. "Advertising for Bids for Construction of Forest Roads"

The form, which is sent out to potential contractors, gives information on who is receiving the form, describes road location and road standards and invites to an explanatory meeting and a survey of the road location. Deadline for submission of the bid estimate, the date of announcement of the contract offer, the date of written confirmation on the contract offer and the date of completion of the road completion are included.

The form outlines specifications related to the bidding procedure and specifies all written documentation that is part of the contract requirements.

Copies of all relevant documents are usually available at the explanatory meeting, where the tenders are also informed if the use a specific type of equipment is obligatory on the project,

2. "Tender Invitation for Forest Road Construction Projects"

This is the signed document submitted by the contractors that wish to compete for the road project. The document specifies in detail what is included in the bid, based on copies of the documents received at the explanatory meeting, the bid price and the road completion date.

The work is divided into individual work segments with unit prices specified for each segment. The contractor specifies what type of equipment/machinery he has available and lists the hourly prices for all equipment and manpower available in case additional work is required.

If the contractor is awarded the contract, the Tender Invitation Document is also signed by the principal or forest owner and becomes part of the job's contract.

3. "Standard Contract for Forest Road Construction"

The contract specifies all documents that are part of the contract, the location and length of the road and if the project includes ballast and surfacing or ballast only. The names of the responsible contractor's representative and of the compliance engineer are indicated and complaint procedures are outlined.

The date of completion date, interruptions, compensation payments and penalties are specified. Guarantee against breach of the contract is referred to, as well as the terms for third party insurance, etc. Conditions for contract cancellation and terms related to instalment and final payments are set.

Other publications/guidelines

The Ministry has published, on its own initiative or in cooperation with the Forest Owners' Association (FOA) and the Forest Extension Institute (FEI), some technical publications related to road construction and road maintenance.

1. Forest road maintenance

A publication, Operational requirements for forest road maintenance associations, has been published and is regularly updated by the FOA in cooperation with the Ministry. The publication indicates how a maintenance association should be established and specifies the responsibilities and authorities of its board. It outlines the membership conditions and gives guidance on maintenance shares; property use of roads, landings, and gravel pits; suggestions for third party road use and the general and legal responsibilities involved.

A booklet, Maintenance of forest roads, is a practical guide on various phases of road maintenance, describing summer and winter maintenance and various types of equipment and how it should be used. It describes financial aspects, road owners' responsibilities and how maintenance should be organized.

A pamphlet, Road maintenance, including practical aspects and relevant information on the topic, is produced by FEI as an instruction guide for short extension courses held for forest owners, contractors and road consultants. The instruction material includes a descriptive slide series.

2. Erosion problems

A pamphlet, Prevention of landslides during road construction, describes preventive measures that must be considered. Flood estimates and calculation methods for drainage installations, culverts, bridges, etc., are described, including suggestions for technical solutions.

3. Road revegetation

The Public Highway Department has issued a report on Vegetation along roads in southern Norway where examples of various wild flower seeds are given for cuts and fills to create a more pleasant impression than regular grass seeding for stabilization purposes.

4. Legal questions

The publication, Private forest roads - Log transport, responsibilities, insurance, etc,. contains advice to forest owners with regard to the national laws that may affect the construction, maintenance and the overall use of a forest road. Advice is given regarding responsibility and insurance possibilities.

Final comments

In spite of the relative comprehensive measures initiated by the authorities to secure that adequate consideration is given to environmental, biological and multiple-use aspects, forest road construction still creates conflicts with environmental and nature conservation groups. The conflict is also becoming a political issue.

Therefore, the Ministry has recently established a working group, with representatives from central and local forestry and environmental authorities, to evaluate the various fields of conflict, the benefits and the inconveniences of forest road construction.

The mandate is specified in two parts:

1. To discuss the consequences related to forest road construction in relation to environmental interests and society in general:

· access to the existing forest resources, present situation and future needs;

· cost-benefit analysis in relation to future forest road construction;

· consequences in relation to cultural heritage and interests of environmental and recreational use.

2. To analyse existing policies and processes related to forest road construction:

· present policy regulations;

· participation of the environmental authorities in the present policy regulations;

· criteria to refuse execution of road construction projects as planned.

The working group was expected to complete its work during 1996.



Established by the Ministry of Agriculture April 27, 1994, pursuant to Section 17 a in the Forestry Act of May 21, 1965 with later amendments.


1.1 Objective;

The objective of this regulation is to ensure that planning and construction of forest roads result in a comprehensive solution when establishing a forest road system where all aspects of forest management and environmental values related to biodiversity, landscape, historical artefacts and recreation are considered.

1.2 Application;

This regulation includes all forest roads which are built entirely or partly for forestry activities. Excluded are roads planned and constructed in areas where special rules for road construction applies pursuant to section 17 b in the Forestry Act, the Nature Conservation Act, the Building and Planning Act or other Acts.

1.3 Definition;

Forest roads are all truck- and tractor roads constructed pursuant to the road standards established by the Ministry of Agriculture and other forest roads that causes permanent terrain encroachments.


2.1 Obligation to submit report;

Plans on new forest road construction shall be submitted to the community authorities prior to the construction start. This also apply to reconstruction of existing roads.

2.2 Contents of the report;

The report shall include a map indicating the road location and the woodland area tributary to the road. The report shall furthermore indicate how the road may change the profitability of the logging within the tributary area. In addition information is desired as to whether special environmental values exist in the area. Expected road standard and length of the road, possible gravel pits in conjunction with the road and future maintenance shall be mentioned.


3.1 Approval;

Construction of new forest roads, or reconstruction of existing roads, may only be accomplished after the plan has been approved by the municipal authority.

Plans for forest roads connected to a public road and log storage areas to be built adjacent to a public road needs prior approval by the official road authority.

3.2 Public comments;

The municipal authority shall procure the opinions needed, and ensure that the issue is adequately covered prior to making the decision.

The historic artefacts authorities shall be invited for comments.

The reindeer agronomist shall be invited for comments when the road plan includes areas with reindeer interests.

A deadline shall be fixed for all public comments, however not less than 1 month.

3.3 Decision procedures;

Matters pursuant to this regulation shall be handled by the municipal authority with professional knowledge in forestry, see section 4 in the Forestry Act.

Matters pursuant to this regulation shall be subject to professional forestry and environmental judgements and a decision made without unfounded delay. If the public comments involves various opinions, the municipal authority shall emphasise to reach agreeable solutions.

During the procedures, in addition to evaluating the actual need of the road and the environmental consequences of the construction etc., the possibilities of concrete adaptations of the road project shall be emphasised. This includes the location in relation to important nature- and environmental qualities as historic artefacts, lakes and running water, crossing or influencing trails and tracks and clearance work after the construction (see regulation on road grant), road standards and the environmental road construction guide.

The County Governor shall continuously be informed about the decision making by the municipal authorities.

3.4 Terms;

The municipal authority may, on its own initiative or on the basis of the public comments received, establish terms for the construction and the road design or deny the entire- or part of the road to be built.

The municipal authority may require an alternative plan to be made, where the road project in question is made part of an overall plan, independent of ownership structures.

Approval of road construction in protected forests requires that the municipal authority establishes terms that ensure that harvesting and reforestation within the tributary woodland are accomplished according to the existing management regulations for the protection forest.

Special management terms may be set within certain parts of the area tributary to the road where environmental values may be documented.

The decision may also include terms on the use of the road in certain periods, on closing the road by gate etc.

The decisions made by the municipal authority shall not prevent the tributary woodland area to the road from being rational and profitable operational.


4.1 Exemption;

The Ministry of Agriculture may under certain conditions make exemptions to this regulation.

4.2 Complaint;

A letter of complaint may be directed to the County Agricultural Board on decisions made by the municipal authority pursuant to this regulation according to section 14 in the Forestry Act and Chapter VI in the State Management Act.

4.3 Violation;

Any person that intentionally or negligently commit an offence pursuant to this regulation, may be prosecuted through penalties as long as the case may not be liable for a more severe penal code, see Section 52 in the Forestry Act.

4.4 Coming into force;

This regulation comes into force May 1, 1994.

From this date the «Regulation on Planning and Approval of Forest Roads», established by the Ministry of Agriculture on Nov. 1, 1991 is no longer valid.



Most forest roads will be constructed as Class III roads. Class III roads will be applied in areas where all year transport is required, but where the traffic is too low to use a Class II road.

Alignment and road quality requirements shall be such that the road may be used for fully loaded logging trucks through the entire year except during the spring thaw and periods with excessive rainfall. Average designed speed of loaded trucks should be at least 15 -20 km/hour.

The road must be constructed with crown (cross slope) and camber.

The road surface graduation must allow for machinery maintenance.

Alignment and project plan must be approved by the Forest Service Authority or approved forest road experts.



Road and bridges must support a single axle load of 10 tons minimum.


In through-cuts the road width consists of the roadway plus adequate width on both sides of the roadway to allow for a natural tapering slope of the base course (ballast) and the top surface material on the road.

In side casts the road width includes an additional shoulder on the outside of the roadway.

On fills the road width includes the roadway and shoulders on both sides.

2.1 Roadway

The roadway must be 3.5 metres at the minimum. On road fills exceeding 2 metres in height, the roadway must be 4.0 metres at the minimum.

Curves with radius less than 50 metres must have an additional roadway width;

Radius of the curve

Roadway width

40 - 49 metres

4.00 metres

30 - 39 metres

4.50 metres

20 - 29 metres

5.00 metres

15-20 metres

5.50 metres

Additional width on curves is constructed on the inside of the road and is tapered out to a distance of 10 metres from the tangential curve points towards the straight line.

2.2 Road shoulder

In side casts the road width is increased by a 0.5 metre wide shoulder outside the driveway.

On road fills a 0.5 metre shoulder is added on both sides of the roadway. The shoulders shall be constructed by using transported base course material (ballast) or local material if this is of adequate quality.

Surfacing material must cover the shoulder and be evenly tapered out from the outside edge of the roadway.


The road surface should consist of a base course (ballast) and a wearing course. If the road bed needs a layer of additional base course material, the layer must be at least 20 cm thick. In road fills supported by wood (corduroy or brush mat), fibre cloths etc., the ballast cover must be at least 50 cm. The road surface must be of adequate quality to meet the demands of designed travelling speed and road adhesion.


The depth of the ditch must be at least 20 cm into the sub-grade level below the base course material layer. The width of the ditch at the subgrade level must be at least 50 cm.


The subgrade width includes roadway, shoulder(s) and ditch(es).

Minimum subgrade width is 5.0 metres, which includes a 20 cm thick layer of base course (ballast) and surface material (wearing course) as needed.

The subgrade width will vary depending on the thickness of the base course (ballast) and the wearing course. For each 10 cm the ballast layer increases above 20 cm, the minimum sub-grade width increases by 0.3 metres. In through cuts with loose soil, the subgrade width should include a 1.0 metre wide zone between the ditch and the base of the side-slope to allow for snow and possible slide material.


The horizontal curve radius' should normally not be less than 30 metres. In difficult terrain less curve radius may be allowed. The absolute minimum on curve radius' should be 15 metres. Full tree-length haul requires a minimum radius of 20 metres.

The vertical curves should not be less than 100 metres.


Gradient in the transport- or return direction should not exceed 10 %, in exceptional cases the gradient may be increased to 12 %.

In curves with radius less than 50 metres, the gradient must be reduced by 1 % per 10 metre reduction of the radius. The change of gradient must be adjusted in a distance of 10 metres from the tangential points.


The distance between meeting places should not exceed 500 metres. At the meeting place the roadway should be widened to 6.5 metres over a distance of 15 metres. The approach to the widened stretch should be adjusted over a 5 metres distance on each side of the 15 metres meeting distance.

The road bearing capacity of the meeting place must be equal to the road specification.


Turn-around should be constructed within 1 km. distance. Roundabouts requires an outside radius of 15 metres minimum and a roadwidth of 7.0 metres minimum. When built for reversing, the turn-around should be constructed with a distance of 20 metres along the road and a 20 metres distance at a right angle to the road, approximately shaped like a truncated cone.

The turn-around must have sufficient bearing capacity to handle trucks equipped with trailer.


A sufficient number of landings must be constructed along the road.


Road take-off or junctions with public roads must follow the requirements of the local official road authorities.


The road must be furnished with signs, gates etc. according to the prevailing sign regulations.




1.1 Clearing of wood

All wood material above 5 cm dbh within the road right-of-way must be removed in a minimum width of 10 metres and at least 1 metre outside the edge of the ditch, top of the side-slope or toe of the fill. All potential gravel- or rock pits to be used, meeting areas, turn-arounds and landings must be cleared as well.

Trees outside the specified road right-of-way area with weakened root systems caused by the construction must be removed.

Mearchable wood shall be stacked such that it is not covered by dirt or harmed by the road construction.

1.2 Grubbing

All stumps closer than 0.5 metres of the top of the cut-slope or within 0.5 metres of the finished roadway shall be removed. Loose stumps and debris must not be used in road-fills.

Debris and waste material shall be removed from the road bed area, levelled or buried without disturbing ditches, turning- or meeting areas, transport on to or off the road or snow removal.

Gravelpits along the road must be limited to as few places as possible. Care must be taken to protect standing trees and other vegetation near the construction zone.


2.1 Levelling

The alignment must be following the approved, staked road line. The vertical and horizontal alignment must be gradually adjusted without abrupt changes.

An effort must be made to ensure that the roadbed is harmoniously placed and adjusted to the surroundings to make the final road as unnoticeable as possible within the existing environment. Excessive rock blasting is usually disfiguring the nature.

If the road must be located adjacent to lakes or running water, and where the side-cast material may reach the water, the excessive material should be transported along the road and placed in stable condition where it remains stable without eroding into the water.

The road location shall be according to the design. The humus cover shall be removed in fills less than 50 cm. Existing stumps, ground cover and logging debris may be left and covered up in extra high road fills. Low quality material may only be used in the bottom part of larger fills if the material may be adequately secured towards sliding or other inconveniences. The technical most suited road material shall be placed in the upper roadbed levels.

The vegetation cover must be kept untouched on ground with excessive thawing, on bogs and wetlands.

2.2 Bogs and marsh lands

When the road must be located across bogs and marsh land, the road bed must be reinforced by wood (corduroy or brush mats) or fibre cloth. Fibre cloth may be applied when the depth of the bog is less than 3-4 metres. Additional road bed material shall be placed as specified in the road design or project plan.

Across bogs with depth less than 1 metre and with sufficient bearing capacity, the subgrade may be constructed by ditch material.

Wood material to be placed as reinforcement of the roadbed should preferably consist of small round wood. The width must be adjusted according to the fill, but should be at least 1 metre wider than the roadway width. The reinforcing wood material must be in close contact with the ground at its entire length.

In special wet areas, logs should be placed longitudinally under the reinforcing material used.

2.3 Rock blasting

Solid rock and larger rocks within the subgrade width must be blasted to a level at least 20 cm below the top level of the base course (ballast). Depressions in the ground caused by blasting must be filled with material not liable to thawing.

2.4 Cut-slopes and fill-slopes

All cut- and fill slopes must be constructed at a slope angel less than the natural slide angle for the existing material. The following ratios should be applied;

2.4.1 Cut-slopes

a) Solid rock


b) Loose rock and hard soils

(ground slope > 55%)


(ground slope < 55%)


c) Loose soils


Cut-slopes must be cleaned, removing peat, rocks, roots etc. that may slide into the ditch. If the cut-slopes must be constructed steeper than the above ratios, a 0.5 metre wide zone must be made between the ditch and the toe of the cut-slope to handle slide material.

2.4.2 Fill-slopes.

a) Rocks and blasted solid rock


b) Gravely soils


c) Sandy soil and clay


Slide protection walls will be constructed if specified.

2.5 Fills

Stumps and logging debris should not be placed in road-fills. (On larger fills see section 2.1)

Road fill material must be placed in layers, approx. 0.5 metre thickness. On larger fills each layer must be individually compressed.

If needed, the toe of the fill must be secured by a protection wall to prevent sliding of the material. Where the fill-slope is placed adjacent to lakes or running water, the fill slopes must be covered by rocks to prevent erosion into the water.

Fills exceeding 2 metres must be constructed with additional subgrade and roadway width. Additional fill height shall be added where sinking of the fill may be expected.

2.6 Drainage and ditches

2.6.1 Culverts

Cross drainage and culverts should be placed as indicated in the project plan or according to a written agreement between the contractor and the person in charge of the project representing the owner. The depth of the cover material depends on the material to be used. Minimum size diameter of the culvert should be 25 cm.

Crossdrainages should be placed with slopes between 2 and 10%.

In wet areas the culverts should be placed on logs which also may be covered and reinforced by additional material. On grounds liable to thawing the culverts must be placed on a layer of gravel minimum 30 cm thick or on fibre cloth.

A minimum 15 cm layer of gravel or sand must be placed around the culvert. The back filling shall be done without damaging the culvert and secure adequate packing of the material along the entire length of the culvert.

The culverts must be installed such that the water from the outlet is guided on to natural ground or rock installations to prevent downstream erosion.

A water basin, minimum 0.5 metre below the culvert bottom, should be constructed at the inlet of the culvert. In loose and sandy materials, the basin must be plastered with rock.

On road gradients exceeding 8%, the culverts should be installed at a 60 ° angle with the ditch line.

Steel arch culverts should be used on installations in rivers or creeks carrying fish,. When regular culverts are used, the bottom should be covered with at least 10 cm of gravel or rock and be installed with a maximum grade of ½ % or follow the natural grade of the creek bed.

2.6.2 Ditches

Ditches must be constructed according to the plan and profile or the project plan. Existing creeks and ditches must be kept open and not being deteriorated.

The ditches must normally be constructed into the subgrade prior to the base course (ballast) being applied. The ditches must be built with even grades. Under difficult ground conditions the ditches should be plastered with rock against the road bed to prevent erosion. On bogs and wet areas, 2-3 metres wide shoulders must be left between the toe of the road-fills and the ditches.

When using logs on bogs for subgrade reinforcement, the depth of the road ditch should be negligible, but additional drainage may be needed to carry standing water away from the road.

All ditches must be cleaned. Protruding rock must be removed.

2.7 Crown/Cross-slope

On straight alignments and curves exceeding a radius of 50 metres, the roadway must be crowned or cross-sloped. The crown must be constructed into the subgrade and kept intact during the application of ballast and surfacing material. The cross-slope from the outside edge to the centre of the road must be minimum 5 %.

2.8 Road Camber

Camber is an even slope across the roadway from the outside edge of a curving road towards the inside ditch line. Road camber replaces the road crown on curves less than 50 metres. The camber must be constructed into the subgrade and kept intact during the application of ballast and surfacing material. A 5% camber should be used on curves with 50 metres radius, slightly increasing on sharper curves.

2.9 Meeting area.

Meeting points should be constructed adjacent to the log landings or as specified in the project plan. Deviations from the designated location must be approved by the owner or the owner representative.

2.10 Turnaround

Turnarounds must be constructed as specified in the project plan. Turnaround should always be constructed at the end of the road if possible, or in connection to landings, meeting areas or junctions with other forest roads.

2.11 Landing

Landings should be constructed such that passing traffic is not obstructed.

Landings must be levelled and slightly sloped towards the road. Local site material may be used for landing construction. Debris must not be placed such that transport onto the road is obstructed.


The road base consist of a base course (ballast material) and a wearing course (surfacing material). If the subgrade is suitable as ballast material, the road base construction may be limited to the application of a wearing course. If the local material is of sufficient quality, the base course may be used as surface material (wearing course).

3.1 Base course (ballast)

The base course must have sufficient quality and depth to meet the technical specifications of the roadway.

The thickness of the base course must be as prescribed in the project plan and evenly distributed under the roadway and tapered at an angle natural for the material. The thickness should be a minimum of 20 cm or as prescribed in the project plan.

The project plan must describe where base course material should be applied and the volumes required. The plan must further specify where the base course material should be taken from. If it appears during the construction stage that additional material must be applied, this must be agreed in writing between the contractor and the person in charge of the owner.

Prior to application of the base course, the various sources available should be evaluated to obtain the optimum use. Most inorganic materials may be used as a base course. Material liable to thawing should not be used.

When using rock as the base course, the upper 15 cm layer should not contain rocks larger than 20 cm in size. The base course quality should consider the local existence of available material. Corduroy, brush mats or fibre cloth used for reinforcement must be covered according to the technical descriptions. Damages to the applied base course as a result of the base course transport must be corrected. If the base course consists of larger blasted rocks, a levelling layer should be applied prior to the wearing course.

3.2 Wearing course

The wearing course or the surfacing material must consist of material prescribed in the project plan or which has been approved prior to the application. The thickness of the course should be minimum 10-15 cm, corresponding to 8-10 cm of compressed material, and evenly spread on the width of the roadway and tapered over the shoulders.

The wearing course should consist of crushed rock or screened gravel or mixed gravel and binder. Large rocks are not allowed in the wearing course. If gravel and binder are applied in separate layers, the thickness of the gravel layer should be 5-10 cm.

Material treatment and application methods must be agreed prior to the work being done. This also includes all work needed for preparation of the gravel- or rock pit to be used.


The bridges must allow for a single axle load of 10 tons and should have a driving surface width of a minimum of 4.5 metres. Additional axle load allowance may be specified through the project plan.

The design and location of the bridge abutments must be approved prior to the construction of the remaining bridge structure. Placement and quantity of steel enforcement must be inspected and approved prior to concrete placement. In general bridges should be constructed according to designs being part of the project plan.


All supplementary work must be discussed between the contractor and the forest owner/the inspector representing the owner. Gravel or rock pits that have been opened up along the road must be levelled and blended in with the surroundings.

Assigned gravel- and rock pits must be cleaned and not left where they may cause harm to human beings and animals.

Debris and waste material must be levelled and concealed. Depressions, etc., caused by the construction must be levelled or corrected.

The potential finished road, including all supplementary work, must be approved in writing by the Forest Authority or an approved inspector before the road is considered completed.



(slides as numbered in the series)


2. Improper road location, unacceptable rock-blasting method and after-treatment of the blasted rock in a highly used recreational area.

3. Excellent treatment of the side-cast material on a logging road located close to a highway picnic area. The material is covered by bark such reducing the visual impact.


5. Sketches explaining the term "landscape border zone" - locations between various landscape features -and suggesting how the road should be located in relation to various types of vegetation cover and landscape features.

7. Undesirable road location, interrupting the landscape border zone between flat and steep areas, causing visual disturbance. The road should rather have been built on fill in the flat area along the toe of the hill rather than cutting into the hillside.

8. Road location planning often requires simultaneous considerations of several existing landscape border zones. The slide shows how a road location could be adapted both to the border zones between flat and steep terrain and between vegetation and water. A location further away from the side-hill would have been preferable.


9. An even road grade with gentle curves may technically be preferred, but in steep terrain this may often involve heavy excavations, which may not be environmentally acceptable due to the adverse visual appearance.

10. This slide shows a road that is much better adapted to the existing terrain, alternating road grades, thus reducing excavation and blasting.

11. Undesirable road location. Long straight stretches are visually to a disadvantage. More horizontal curves should have been applied.

12. A road should be horizontally curved when crossing a ridge top, reducing excavation and visual silhouette disturbance.

15. Border-zones against rivers and lakes are vulnerable. The slide shows an undesirable road location, being too close to the water.

16. The road is located in proper distance from the lake with a natural vegetation cover left between the road and the lake, wide enough to form a border zone by itself.

17. Selecting a road location with regards to landscape border zones may involve conflicting alternative choices. In this sample, a choice of applying rock blasting has been made rather than disturbing the zone adjacent to the water.

19. If a road must be located along a shoreline beneath a rocky outcrop, it should, if possible, rather be built on a complete fill rather than be blasted into the hillside.


22. The road should be horizontally curved outside larger bogs and marshy areas, even if these wet areas could support adequate truck load capacities. The existing vegetative cover should be left intact between the road location and the wet lands.


28. The upper cut-slope must be cleaned and relieved for unstable vegetation, stumps, roots, soil and rocks. A clean cut-slope is an important part of the finished road.


29. In areas where proper road construction material may be limited, uncritical use of loose material adjacent to the road may cause more visual disturbance than the road location itself.

30. A sample of an excellent-looking construction job. In areas with limited road construction material the road bed should be made from material transported from designated rock- or gravel pits.

31. In areas with inadequate soil bearing capacity, the roadbed must be constructed by proper fill material supported by special road cloth- or proper wood material.

32. Roadbeds constructed by using material from the road ditches should be avoided, as the road usually ends up being over-dimensioned, creating undesired visual impacts and log transport and loading problems.

33. Over-dimensioned roads are visually undesirable and usually cause unnecessary maintenance problems. Unnecessary road width creates surface drainage problems.


35. Waste material - as larger rocks, stumps and other vegetation cover - shall not be left along a finished road due to the negative visual appearance and the transport problems from and on to the road. Waste material shall be buried within the road clearing area or transported away and buried in an area designated by the road planner.


38. Gravel pits shall be closed, levelled and blended in with the surrounding area. Stabilising cover material should be applied and drainage constructed between the pit and the road bed.

40. A good example on how a blasted rock pit may be renovated.


41. An un-desirable example of handling excavated material on steep side-slopes. On side-slopes exceeding 65-70%, side-cast material can not be stored in a stable manner along the outside roadbed. The entire road width must be built on solid ground, and the excavated material end-hauled to a designated area where it may be stored and compacted to a stable condition.

43. Under certain conditions on very steep hillsides, "catching ditches" may be constructed along the outside footing of the road, and larger rocks stacked in order to reduce the amount of side cut.

44. Even on moderate side-slopes, side-cast material should not be placed along the outside road curves due to the long distance visual impacts.

47. If switch-backs must be constructed in areas of public insight, side-cast material must be covered by vegetative soil and re-vegetated.

48. In order to reduce and control rock blasting, machine mounted rock splitting hammers may be a good solution. This equipment is especially useful on reconstruction or road improvement projects.


49. Too wide and deep ditches add the negative visual impact of a road and should be avoided.

50. Roads constructed on light fills by using hauled in materials and without digging ditches greatly reduces the impact.

51. A road built on fills causes negligible impacts if the side-cast materials are covered by peat- or turf material.

53. If a road must be built across wetlands requiring additional drainage systems, the drainage system should be curved from the road ditch to avoid the impression that it is part of the road system.

54. Unstable side-cuts must be plastered by rocks or gabions at the lower end to prevent slides and drainage problems.

58. In order to reduce the side-cuts in steep areas, the road may occasionally be constructed without ditches. The roadbed must then be sloped towards the road inside and constructed with variable gradients. The roadbed should on steep gradients be built with angled cross-drainage dips, 20-25 metres long and ½ metre deep, to channel the surface water away from the roadbed.

59. If roads in steep terrain are not used for log haul over a period of time, angled cross ditches should be constructed across the road surface, but not deeper than that smaller vehicles may pass.


61. An example showing waste material along the roadside prior to clean-up.

62. Same road as in picture 61 after proper clean-up.

64. An example of a road in an area with large recreational use. The larger fill slopes are seeded and covered by bark and soil.


68. Removing brush and smaller trees along the roadside is part of the maintenance plan and should be done in 4-5 year intervals. If this is properly done, grass and vegetative cover will eventually contribute to the road being part of the landscape.

69. A stabilized ditch line should not be touched as long as the drainage works properly.


70. Reconstruction of roads must be planned in order to minimise the impact. Strengthening and resurfacing of existing road bed should be carefully considered before making changes to existing curvatures etc.

72. If a road reconstruction job includes building of a new drainage and ditch system, the excavated material shall not be placed as high mounds along the roadside. The excavated materials should be loaded up and transported to a designated area.

75. A good example of placing material from a reconstructed drainage system. The material has been transported to this designated area and blended in with the surrounding terrain.


76. Where possible, snow packed winter roads are environmentally preferable causing minimal ground and vegetative disturbance, and may be applied even on slight side-hills.

77. Summer picture of a snow packed truck road used on frozen ground. No appearance of any damage to the vegetative ground cover.

80. When the operation is finished, or at the end of the operating season, deep machinery tracks in the tractor road or in the skid trails must be levelled, with cross drainage re-opened or installed.

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