The U.S. still has impressive tracks of forest. But what happens when that forest is damaged by major forest fires? What is the best way to deal with the damaged timber and help the forest recover? That is the subject of this interesting article in the CSMonitor. The article makes it clear that the issue is definitely less than clean cut:
The Forest Service and the timber industry say large standing trees that have been killed by fire can be carefully logged using helicopters, then replanted with seedlings. So do a majority of US representatives, who recently passed a bill, now headed for the US Senate, that would accelerate salvage logging in roadless areas. But many forest ecologists say such logging inhibits natural regeneration, resulting in young, even-age forests more prone to future fires. In a recent letter to Congress, 169 scientists wrote: “Although logging and replanting may seem like a reasonable way to clean up and restore forests after disturbances like wildland fires, such activity would actually slow the natural recovery of forests and of streams and creatures within them.”
We live in an era when there is virtually no forested area that hasn’t felt the influence of humans. Thus, what is the best way to deal with the effects of a fire (natural or otherwise)? Read more about the forest fire salvage controversy here.