U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Fire Science Brief, Issue 143, October 2011


US government work.


Public land managers are asked to minimize fuel levels after fires, including using techniques such as salvage logging. They are also responsible for maintaining suitable wildlife habitat, especially for species of concern to state and federal agencies. An area where these responsibilities could conflict is in the use of salvage logging in burned-over areas that also represent good habitat for certain wildlife such as woodpeckers. Controversy over this conflict has led to litigation. Public land management agencies need consistent design criteria to maintain suitable habitats for these birds. Little information has existed on how to assess potential effects of postfire logging on habitats and populations of wildlife. Recent research studies are developing tools to evaluate habitat suitability of postfi re forests for several species of nesting woodpeckers in the inland Northwest. Data were collected on habitat characteristics at nest sites and on nesting survival at three sites (one each in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) after wildfi res.