Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New study sheds light on long-term effects of logging after wildfire

12.04.2007
Are severe reburns likely with or without logging?

A new study on the effects of timber harvest following wildfire shows that the potential for a recently burned forest to reburn can be high with or without logging. Recently published in the journal, Forest Ecology and Management, the study demonstrates that the likelihood of a severe reburn is affected by the timing – not just the amount – of fuel accumulation after fire.

The study examines fuel accumulation with and without logging after a large wildfire in the Blue Mountains of northeast Oregon. Three treatments were examined: commercial logging that removed only dead trees with value for wood products, commercial logging plus thinning that removed all dead trees larger than 4 inches in diameter, and unlogged sites.

The year after logging (3 years after the fire), sites that were logged and thinned had four times more fine fuels on the ground, as a result of logging residue, compared to unlogged sites. Those same sites also had fewer snags– which provide habitat for woodpeckers, owls, and other animals that nest in tree cavities – and contribute to large woody debris on the ground. However, logging activity caused no change in the litter or duff, the upper soil organic layers that also affect how a fire burns. The study was led by James McIver of Oregon State University and Roger Ottmar of the Pacific Northwest Research Station, U.S. Forest Service.

The investigators used a computer model to project how fuels and fire hazard would change over time. "Long-term research and monitoring are not always possible," says McIver. "Although we would rather have the long-term data, using a model allows us to estimate some of the future ecological effects."

The computer simulation showed that the difference in surface fuels between logged and unlogged units would persist for about 15 years. The simulation also showed that if a fire did start during this time, it would likely kill most young trees as the fire carried through either logged or unlogged stands, even though the logged stands had higher slash fuels. This is because other components of the fuel bed (grasses and shrubs) would contribute significantly to fire conditions, whether sites were initially logged or not.

"The exact nature of fuel accumulation over time is the key to understanding fire hazard," explains Ottmar. "Each forest, each fire, and each logging operation affects fuels differently, and variation exists within any forest stand. It is also important to consider the whole fuel bed when thinking about fire hazard in the future."

Model projections indicated that large fuels will increase over time in the unlogged forests as dead trees fall over, with up to three times greater fuel accumulation as compared to a wildfire area that has been logged. Although it would seem that any extra fuel would be a cause for concern, these large fuels do not carry fire well on the surface, and so do not tend to create conditions for crown fires. Rather, they will tend to cause long periods of heating on the ground.

"Wood can be fuel in the short term or the long term," says McIver, "but that's only part of the story. Wood is also wildlife habitat, and wood provides nutrients to the soil. Fire, ecological factors, and management objectives are all important. Our data show that there are no simple answers."

Sherri Richardson Dodge | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/fera/news/newsletters/2007-feb.shtml

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>