The wildland fires of 2000, 2002, and 2003 created many opportunities to conduct post-fire logging operations in the Inland Northwest. Relatively little information is available on the impact of post-fire logging on long-term soil productivity or on the best method for monitoring these changes. We present a USDA Forest Service Northern Region study of post-fire logged sites using a variety of methods to assess changes in soil productivity and site sustainability after timber harvesting activities. The disparate soil and climatic conditions throughout the Northern Region made it an ideal area to study post-fire logging operations. Our results indicate that post-fire logging during the summer creates more detrimental disturbance (50% of the stands) than winter harvesting (0% of the stands). In addition, on the sites we sampled, equipment type (tractor > forwarder > rubber-tired skidder) also influenced the amount of detrimental disturbance. Number of sample points is a critical factor when determining the extent of detrimental disturbance across a burned and harvested unit. We recommend between 80 and 200 visual classification sample points, depending on confidence level. We also provide a summary of methods that will lead to a consistent approach to provide reliable measures of detrimental soil disturbance.
Page-Dumroese, Deborah; Jurgensen, Martin; Abbott, Ann; Rice, Tom; Tirocke, Joanne; Farley, Sue; DeHart, Sharon. 2006. Monitoring changes in soil quality from post-fire logging in the inland northwest. In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps. Fuels management - how to measure success: conference proceedings. 2006 March 28-30; Portland, OR. Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 605-614.