A new study done in the area burned in the catastrophic Biscuit Fire in Southwestern Oregon in 2002 found that allowing trees to naturally regenerate works about as well or better than logging and replanting, and that undisturbed areas may be at lower fire risk in the future.
The research will be published Friday in Sciencexpress and later presented in the journal Science, by scientists from Oregon State University and the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry in Hawaii. It provides some of the first actual data about forest regeneration in this vast, burned area.
Even following a high severity fire such as this, which covered more than 450,000 acres and was the largest in Oregon history, the natural conifer regeneration on study sites was about 300 seedlings per acre, and 80 percent Douglas fir. However, logging reduced the regeneration by 71 percent, and would necessitate manual planting to restore seedling levels that otherwise would have occurred naturally.
Dan Donato | EurekAlert!
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