International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Fuel mass and forest structure following stand-replacement fire and post-fire logging in a mixed-evergreen forest

Daniel C. Donato A D E , Joseph B. Fontaine B , J. Boone Kauffman C , W. Douglas Robinson C and Beverly E. Law A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A College of Forestry, 321 Richardson Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.

B School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University, 90 South Street, Perth, WA 6150, Australia.

C Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, 104 Nash Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.

D Present address: Washington State Department of Natural Resources, PO Box 47016, Olympia, WA 98504, USA.

E Corresponding author. Email: donatod@onid.orst.edu

International Journal of Wildland Fire 22(5) 652-666 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF12109
Submitted: 9 July 2012  Accepted: 6 November 2012   Published: 15 February 2013

Abstract

Following severe wildfires, managing fire hazard by removing dead trees (post-fire logging) is an important issue globally. Data informing these management actions are relatively scarce, particularly how fuel loads differ by post-fire logging intensity within different environmental settings. In mixed-evergreen forests of Oregon, USA, we quantified fuel profiles 3–4 years after stand-replacement fire – assessing three post-fire logging intensities (0, 25–75, or >75% basal area cut) across two climatic settings (mesic coastal, drier interior). Stand-replacement fire consumed ~17% of aboveground biomass. Post-fire logging significantly reduced standing dead biomass, with high-intensity treatment leaving a greater proportion (28%) of felled biomass on site compared with moderate-intensity treatment (14%) because of less selective tree felling. A significant relationship between logging intensity and resulting surface fuels (per-hectare increase of 0.4–1.2 Mg per square metre of basal area cut) indicated a broadly applicable predictive tool for management. Down wood cover increased by 3–5 times and became more spatially homogeneous after logging. Post-fire logging altered the fuel profile of early-seral stands (standing material removed or transferred, short-term increase in surface fuels, likely reduction in future large fuel accumulation), with moderate-intensity and unlogged treatments yielding surface fuel loads consistent with commonly prescribed levels, and high-intensity treatment resulting in greater potential need for follow-up fuel treatments.

Additional keywords: biomass, Biscuit Fire, coarse woody debris, dead wood, fuel succession, Klamath–Siskiyou, legacy, logging intensity, post-fire management, salvage logging, snag.


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