Public debate on postfire logging has intensified in recent years, particularly since passage of the 'salvage rider' in 1995, directing accelerated harvest of dead trees in the western United States. Supporters of postfire logging argue that it is part of a suite of restoration techniques, and that removal of timber means reduction of fuels for future fires (the 'reburn' effect). Opponents argue that it causes damage to burned sites, particularly to soils, that it increases sediment transport, and that it removes large dead trees that have important ecological functions. Considerable debate about the merits of postfire logging has been carried on without benefit of much scientific information. A recent review drew together the available scientific literature on postfire logging. At the same time, an experimental study in eastern Oregon was designed to test the 'reburn' hypothesis and to examine soil and sediment transport in a major postfire logging operation. Contributing scientists are Jim McIver and Roger Ottmar.
Duncan, S. 2002. Postfire logging: is it beneficial to a forest? Science Findings 47. Portland, OR: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p.