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Ecological Effects of Post-fire Salvage Logging in the Pacific Northwest

Author(s): Matthew J. Reilly, Thomas A. Spies, Paul F. Hessburg
Year Published: 2015

Post-fire salvage logging is typically proposed as a means of recovering some of the lost economic value in dead or damaged trees. The ecological consequences of salvage, however, are often considered negative from the perspective of soils, hydrology, and wildlife habitat resources, although species responses do vary. Early scientific understanding of salvage logging after wildfire was hindered by a lack of studies with sufficient replication and controls (McIver and Starr 2001), but recent research offers new understanding of some ecological effects of salvage logging. We summarize key findings from a developing body of literature to help inform management decisions surrounding post-fire salvage (Table 1). We focus on salvage logging effects (i.e., the removal of snags and live remnant trees) following wildfire and do not include other post-fire management activities (e.g. planting, mulching, road effects). This is a brief on key findings and uncertainties associated with post-fire salvage logging, and is not a substitute for a full peer-reviewed scientific review.

Citation: Reilly MJ, Spies TA, and Hessburg PF. 2015. Brief: Ecological Effects of Post-fire Salvage Logging in the Pacific Northwest. Ecological Considerations for Post‐fire Management, p 3-7.
Topic(s): Post-fire Management, Salvage Logging
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Research Brief or Fact Sheet
NRFSN number: 15729
Record updated: Nov 15, 2017