Using a bulldozer to clear land is cheaper than manual felling, but leads to extensive soil disturbance. A bulldozer blade is multi-functional, and is available for other uses on the job site after felling trees. Bulldozers are only effective for clearing land, however, when the topography and soil conditions are suitable.
Using crawler bulldozers with angled or straight blades to clear land is effective for medium-scale jobs, performed in brush country or upland wood country with sparse trees. When done properly, a bulldozer helps to lessen the competition between the old vegetation and the new plantation for light, moisture and nutrients. A bulldozer blade works best for felling single trees near ground level, and is more readily available than specialized equipment.
On vulnerable sites, bulldozers increase erosion on sloping land by disturbing the soil considerably. Because of the weight of a bulldozer, the soil is compacted, which causes irrigation problems on stony and shallow soils. When using a bulldozer to clear land, the roots of the trees must be excavated and cut off, which is slower than other specialized methods.
Using two bulldozers and chain to clear land is effective for large-scale jobs with woodland or savanna-type tree coverage. Root extraction is difficult, however, in younger trees because they tend to bend under the weight of the chain. Using a chain is cheaper in the long run than using a single bulldozer, and causes less disturbance to the soil.