USDA on the Benefits of Salvage Logging

imagesWhether or not salvage logging is an effective and environmentally friendly forest management tool has been debated. A recent U.S. Forest Service study however, reveals that harvesting dead trees post wildfire for up to 40 years after the wildfire is an effective measure to manage forest fuels.

The study, which took place in Washington and Oregon, over a 37-year period shows that unlogged stands had significantly higher fuels than logged stands. This is particularly important in dry forest landscapes, including many of California’s forests.

Last year nearly half a million acres were burned across the state. Wildfire season is expected to grow longer and heavy dead fuels remain near levels more typical of June than the beginning of spring, as reported earlier this year. With more than 33 million acres of forestland, which stores an estimated 850 million tons of carbon just in 2010 alone, salvage logging may be one of the effective tools to manage forestlands and prevent wildfires.