Friday, January 6, 2006
A study by Donato et al published online today in Science indicates that post-fire salvage logging may increase short-term fire risk. This finding is significant enough that I simply provide the "untranslated" abstract.
Post-wildfire Logging Hinders Regeneration and Increases Fire Risk
1 Department of Forest Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
2 Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
3 Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, 60 Nowelo Street, Hilo, HI 96720, USA.
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
D. C. Donato , E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Legislation currently pending in U.S. Congress, HR 4200, would expedite postfire logging projects, citing reforestation and fuels reduction among its goals. To help inform the dialogue, we present data from a study of early conifer regeneration and fuel loads following the 2002 Biscuit Fire, OR, USA, with and without postfire logging. Natural conifer regeneration was abundant after high-severity fire. Postfire logging reduced median regeneration density by 73% and significantly increased downed woody fuels and thus short-term fire risk. Additional fuels reduction is necessary for effective fire risk mitigation. Postfire logging can be counterproductive to stated goals of ecosystem restoration.