Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Salvage logging is often a pretext for harvesting wood

27.03.2018

An increasing proportion of the world's protected forests are subject to extensive logging activities. The practice is called "salvage logging" and allegedly aims to protect e.g. areas of windthrow against bark beetle infestation. However, a Würzburg study has found that this instrument is used far too often.

Białowieża Forest in Eastern Poland is one of the last remaining primeval forests in Europe. For the time being. In 2017, the Polish government had 100,000 more trees logged than previously, despite the fact that large areas of the Natural World Heritage site are under strict protection.


01: Salvage logging in the Bavarian Forest National Park according to the national park regulations. Here, trees infested by bark beetles are extracted in a future core zone.

Photo: Reinhold Weinberger, Bavarian Forest National Park management


Salvage logging in the Bavarian Forest National Park according to the national park regulations. Here, windthrown spruces are extracted in a future core zone.

Photo: Reinhold Weinberger, Bavarian Forest National Park management

They did this under the pretense of preventing the bark beetle from spreading further. The motor saws are quiet now after protests from environmental activists, Europe-wide criticism in the media and concerns by the European Commission. The case has been handed to the European Court and the minister of the environment was sacked.

But this case is not an exception. Professor Jörg Müller wonders why politics and the media have singled out Poland as the culprit: "Unfortunately, such salvage logging activities in protected forests are on the rise worldwide." Together with colleagues from the University of Würzburg he wrote a policy perspective recently published in the journal "Conservation Letters" which details that this practice is common also in Germany, other European countries and Asia, making it a global problem.

Earnings from selling wood matter - not pest control

For their study, the members of the Würzburg Biocenter collated 42 case studies from 26 countries and interviewed local experts about the reasons and responsibilities of salvage logging. "Contrary to what is often communicated to the public, the main motivation for logging in protected areas is economic profit – pest control comes only second," Müller explains.

The forest ecologist is in charge of the Field Station "Fabrikschleichach" of the University of Würzburg. Situated in the heart of the Steigerwald forest, the station's focus is on forest ecology, natural preservation biology and applied biodiversity research.

Salvage logging makes sense in areas where wood production is the priority in order to harvest wood while it is still usable. It is, however, not necessary for the forest's biodiversity and regeneration capacity. Especially disturbances such as storms and bark beetle infestation create valuable forest habitats for many endangered species. "They are drivers of increased species variety and structural diversity," Müller says.

Problem not sufficiently appreciated by IUCN and FSC

According to Müller, salvage logging is often simply a pretext for harvesting wood. He says: "They deliberately capitalize on the lack of knowledge in the population regarding natural disturbances." While many people advocate the conservation of green, mature forests, chaotic forest landscapes are considered as in need of sanitation. As a result, society even accepts the use of large machinery in protected areas in many places.

A lot of endangered forest species would find vital refuge in such areas. "We were surprised at how regularly these areas are cleared in conservation areas," Müller says. Also, the researchers were astonished to find that the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) don't seem to appreciate this problem either.

"There are no guidelines for protected area management by the IUCN, nor is the subject of 'reasonable management of naturally disturbed areas' part of the FSC certification process. As a result, local forest managers, who frequently oppose economic interests in wood, often find themselves isolated," Müller explains.

Core messages to a global environmental policy, conservation organizations and forest industry

Müller and his colleagues have developed concrete recommendations based on their paper to promote new policies for managing post-disturbance areas. Firstly, the practice of salvage cutting should be banned completely from protected areas, unless there is a risk of personal injury or loss of property. "It would surely make sense for the IUCN to revise its guidelines in this respect," Müller says and he adds: "There are many national parks in Germany that include forests where disturbances are very likely to occur over the next years. It is crucial to develop an enhanced protected area management based on our present ecological knowledge."

Another recommendation of the Würzburg ecologists is also a field of work which they will continue to push on: "We need more integrated studies on the economic and ecological impacts of salvage logging and its acceptance in society," says Simon Thorn, who also works at the field station. Moreover, these evaluations should improve forest management planning. In future, disturbance areas need to be explicitly included in the planning process, before disturbances actually occur. This is, however, a complex task to implement and requires government funding.

Besides concrete actions in forests, politics and the industry, the Würzburg researchers point out another important angle: the knowledge about forests as an ecosystem. "Pupils as well as students of forestry, biology and environmental protection programmes should already learn about the positive effects of disturbance areas and the negative impacts of excessive salvage cutting in forest ecosystems," Müller says and he adds: "Maybe humans need to learn to trust nature again. We also see this in our biology students in Würzburg."

Müller J, Noss RF, Thorn S, Bässler C, Leverkus AB, Lindenmayer D. "Increasing disturbance demands new policies to conserve intact forest."Conserv Lett. 2018;e12449. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12449

Contact
Professor Jörg Müller, Field Station Fabrikschleichach, Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology (Zoology III), T.: +49-931-31-83378, E-mail: joerg.mueller@uni-wuerzburg.de

Corinna Russow/Marco Bosch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Interaction with fungus containing N2-fixing endobacteria improves rice nitrogen nutrition
26.11.2019 | American Society of Plant Biologists

nachricht Strengthening regional development through old growth beech forests in Europe
20.11.2019 | Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The coldest reaction

With ultracold chemistry, researchers get a first look at exactly what happens during a chemical reaction

The coldest chemical reaction in the known universe took place in what appears to be a chaotic mess of lasers. The appearance deceives: Deep within that...

Im Focus: How do scars form? Fascia function as a repository of mobile scar tissue

Abnormal scarring is a serious threat resulting in non-healing chronic wounds or fibrosis. Scars form when fibroblasts, a type of cell of connective tissue, reach wounded skin and deposit plugs of extracellular matrix. Until today, the question about the exact anatomical origin of these fibroblasts has not been answered. In order to find potential ways of influencing the scarring process, the team of Dr. Yuval Rinkevich, Group Leader for Regenerative Biology at the Institute of Lung Biology and Disease at Helmholtz Zentrum München, aimed to finally find an answer. As it was already known that all scars derive from a fibroblast lineage expressing the Engrailed-1 gene - a lineage not only present in skin, but also in fascia - the researchers intentionally tried to understand whether or not fascia might be the origin of fibroblasts.

Fibroblasts kit - ready to heal wounds

Im Focus: McMaster researcher warns plastic pollution in Great Lakes growing concern to ecosystem

Research from a leading international expert on the health of the Great Lakes suggests that the growing intensity and scale of pollution from plastics poses serious risks to human health and will continue to have profound consequences on the ecosystem.

In an article published this month in the Journal of Waste Resources and Recycling, Gail Krantzberg, a professor in the Booth School of Engineering Practice...

Im Focus: Machine learning microscope adapts lighting to improve diagnosis

Prototype microscope teaches itself the best illumination settings for diagnosing malaria

Engineers at Duke University have developed a microscope that adapts its lighting angles, colors and patterns while teaching itself the optimal...

Im Focus: Small particles, big effects: How graphene nanoparticles improve the resolution of microscopes

Conventional light microscopes cannot distinguish structures when they are separated by a distance smaller than, roughly, the wavelength of light. Superresolution microscopy, developed since the 1980s, lifts this limitation, using fluorescent moieties. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have now discovered that graphene nano-molecules can be used to improve this microscopy technique. These graphene nano-molecules offer a number of substantial advantages over the materials previously used, making superresolution microscopy even more versatile.

Microscopy is an important investigation method, in physics, biology, medicine, and many other sciences. However, it has one disadvantage: its resolution is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The Future of Work

03.12.2019 | Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

The impact of molecular rotation on a peculiar isotope effect on water hydrogen bonds

03.12.2019 | Life Sciences

SLAC scientists invent a way to see attosecond electron motions with an X-ray laser

03.12.2019 | Materials Sciences

Focused ultrasound may open door to Alzheimer's treatment

03.12.2019 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>