Logging may increase fire risk

January 6, 2006

Researchers say logging after forest fires may hinder forest regeneration and increase fire risk.

A new study done in the area burned in the catastrophic Biscuit Fire in southwestern Oregon in 2002 found that allowing trees to regenerate naturally works about as well as -- or better than -- logging and replanting, and that undisturbed areas may be at lower fire risk in the future.

The research, which will be published Friday in Sciencexpress and later presented in the journal Science, was conducted by Oregon State University and the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry in Hawaii.

The study suggested that logging, by itself, would actually increase the levels of material that could fuel another fire in the near future, because of the easily-burned materials left behind on the forest floor after trees are felled and processed.

"Surprisingly, it appears that after even the most severe fires, the forest is naturally very resilient, more than it's often given credit for," said lead author Dan Donato, a graduate student in the Department of Forest Science.

When left to natural regeneration, the trees that did not die acted as a seed source for fairly wide areas around them, researchers said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Endangered orangutans threatened by fire in Indonesia

Related Stories

Telling the story of the world's most at-risk forests

November 13, 2015

The most recent chapter of the World Wildlife Foundation's Living Forests Report, Chapter 5: Saving Forests at Risks, identifies 11 deforestation fronts where more than 80% of global deforestation between 2010 and 2030 is ...

Seven case studies in carbon and climate

November 13, 2015

Every part of the mosaic of Earth's surface—ocean and land, Arctic and tropics, forest and grassland—absorbs and releases carbon in a different way. Wild-card events such as massive wildfires and drought complicate the ...

Tree planting can harm ecosystems

September 9, 2015

The world's grassy biomes are key contributors to biodiversity and ecosystem services, and are under immense pressure from conversion to agriculture and tree planting, report Joseph W. Veldman, of Iowa State University, and ...

In Russia, are loggers an owl's best friend?

September 29, 2015

Can owls and loggers get along? A recent study conducted in Primorye in the southern Russian Far East suggests it's not only possible, but essential for endangered Blakiston's fish owls to survive there. The study was conducted ...

Recommended for you


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.