Salvaging the Ecosystem after Salvage Logging

Bymtu

Salvaging the Ecosystem after Salvage Logging

After a forest fire burns a large swath across timberlands, logging companies often are not far behind. They come in to do what is called salvage logging—salvaging the timber that has not been completely destroyed by the fire.

It sounds like a good idea, since even the timber from burned trees can be used for lumber. Economic benefit can come from otherwise devastated land. Even the name has a warm, fuzzy ring to it: salvage logging.

The only problem is, the ecological effects are unknown.

Actually, that’s not quite true. For over a decade, Joseph Wagenbrenner, assistant professor in Michigan Technological University’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, has been examining salvage logging at four forest fire sites in Montana, Colorado and Washington. He and his research team studied the effects of salvage logging on the ground cover, soil compaction, sediment in water runoff and regrowth of vegetation, compared to control plots that were not logged after a fire.

Specifically, they looked at the impact of various salvage logging practices, including the trails made by the most commonly used equipment: feller bunchers—heavy machines that drive uphill, cutting and piling up trees—and skidders, which pick up the piles of trees and drag them back downhill.

See also: How Amazonian Warriors Fight Deforestation

They found that the amount of sediment in runoff water increased measurably on the smaller plots, but the increase was not consistent on larger tracts of land. The amount of sediment running downhill and the compaction of the ground was greater where the feller bunchers and skidders were used. The more firmly compacted ground becomes, the less water can soak in and the more runoff and erosion can occur.

Wagenbrenner and colleagues published results of the US Forest Service-funded study in the January 2015 issue of the journal Forest Ecology and Management.

Why is sediment an issue? It can cause flooding, when streams and reservoirs get clogged. At one of the study sites, where the Hayman fire burned 140,000 acres of the Pike-San Isabel National Forest in central Colorado, the sediment runoff was so bad that one of the main reservoirs serving Denver had to be dredged.

See also: Global deforestation shows widespread destruction

Sediment can also damage fish habitat, raising water temperature and killing food sources. And it fills pools and streams with organic matter that is hard for water treatment plants to process, Wagenbrenner explains.

Sometimes salvage logging operations leave the small branches and treetops on the ground. This material, called slash, helped ameliorate the erosion and sediment problem, the researchers found.

His team’s recommendations for best management practices for salvage logging include:

  • Leave slash on the ground
  • Break up long feller-buncher and skidder trails with ”water bars”—mounds of dirt that slow and divert runoff.
  • Decompact the soil after heavy equipment is used.
  • Consider replanting vegetation, which works better than slash because it roots in the soil.

See also: Top 30 environmental concerns the Earth is currently facing

Sourcemtu

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

France Declares All New Rooftops Must Be Topped With Plants Or Solar Panels

A new law recently passed in France mandates that all new buildings that are built in commercial zones in France must be partially covered in...

China Is Turning The Rainforest Into Cheap Furniture For The U.S.

Driven by American demand for cheap furniture, China has become the greatest importer of illegal timber. The...

History of life on Earth – Big Five mass extinction events

Although the Cretaceous-Tertiary (or K-T) extinction event is the most well-known because it wiped out the dinosaurs, a series of other mass extinction events...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Complete List of BANKS Owned/Controlled by the Rothschild Family

What’s the significance of having a central bank within a country and why should you concern yourself, your family and colleagues? Central banks are illegally...

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

France Declares All New Rooftops Must Be Topped With Plants Or Solar Panels

A new law recently passed in France mandates that all new buildings that are built in commercial zones in France must be partially covered in...

Leonardo DiCaprio Throws $7 Million Into the Ocean

Leonardo DiCaprio gives $7 million to save the world's oceans Leonardo DiCaprio, an actor best known for his roles in Titanic and Catch Me If...

US Gov’t Pesticide Spraying In Wake Of Harvey A Toxic Boon To Agrochemical Giants

Amid statewide efforts to clean up the aftermath left by the historic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, the Pentagon announced last week that it had dispatched C-130H...

Entrepreneurs Invent City Bench that Absorbs More Air Pollution Than a Small Forest

With great technological advances—like the industrial revolution and the subsequent oil boom—came a great impact on the environment. As more industries began to flourish, increasing...

What Science Can Tell Us about Life

23 Things Science Can Tell Us about Life, The Universe and Everything Ever since the evolution of the sensory neuron, organisms have been using these...

The world’s first weed-dispensing vending machine

Marijuana at the push of a button? Colorado welcomes the world's first weed-dispensing vending machine Machines already exist on the market in Californian medical dispensaries,...

How Al-Qaeda Became an American Ally in the ‘War on Terror’

Nearly 16 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States is inexplicably finding itself in bed with al-Qaeda, its alleged sworn enemy. The...

Gold Backed Russian Ruble, Chinese Yuan Primed To Destroy U.S. Dollar As Global Reserve Currency

A revolutionary transformation of the entire global monetary system is currently underway, being driven by an almost perfect storm. The implications of this transformation are...