Date of this Version
Fire Science Brief, Issue 14, September 2008
Effects of postfire management are becoming more important as wildfire frequency, extent and severity appear to be increasing. Researchers set out to measure the effects of postfire salvage logging on fuel loads, vegetation, and wildlife communities in the Klamath-Siskiyou region of the Pacific Northwest. Natural recovery processes revealed some important findings that provide viable options for managers whose objectives include regenerating forests, sustaining natural processes, and maintaining landscape biodiversity. The researchers found that the mixed-severity fire regime of the region, which includes patches of repeated severe fire, supports abundant, natural postfire conifer regeneration and regionally significant biodiversity. Salvage logging aimed at reducing risk of severe reburn appeared to make little difference in reducing surface fuels or potential fire behavior. Allowing the postfire early seral shrub phase to run its natural course has the potential to bolster the success and efficiency of several diverse management goals.