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    Author(s): Rhonda Mazza
    Date: 2007
    Source: Science Updates 15. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 11 p.
    Publication Series: Science Update
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.0 MB)


    Fire is a part of the forest ecosystem, and its effects have been well documented in the scientific literature. But controversy remains about the effects of management options in a burned forest, and the scientific basis for decisionmaking about postfire management is uncertain and has not been effectively articulated.
    Management concerns after a fire include minimizing erosion and its effects on aquatic systems, retaining adequate forest structure for fire-associated wildlife, capturing the economic value of the wood through postfire timber harvests, minimizing the likelihood of an insect outbreak among fire-stressed trees, reducing the potential for a severe reburn, and ensuring tree regeneration. Postfire timber harvest (often referred to as salvage logging) and its effects on a forest ecosystem have been hotly debated, but the existing studies on its effects are disparate in geographic setting, study design, sampling, and analytical approach.
    Scientists from the Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station and their colleagues from the other research stations and universities are currently synthesizing the science on the effects of postfire timber harvests following large wildfires in western North America. Their objective is to clarify the extent to which different issues related to postfire harvests are supported by scientific data.
    Postfire timber harvests may lead to different outcomes depending on the biophysical setting of the forest, patterns of burn severity, and method and timing of tree removal. The management objectives for the area ultimately determine how these concerns are addressed. This story continues inside.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Mazza, Rhonda. 2007. Managing forests after fires. Science Updates 15. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 11 p.

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