Salvage logging versus natural regeneration post-fire practices in a forest: Soil chemical and microbial aspects


The increase in forest-wildfire events around the world has revived the old debate regarding the practice of salvage logging and its effectiveness in comparison to the unlogged, natural regeneration of burned forests. Since the logging of burned trees may have undesirable outcomes in soil systems, such as soil compaction and nutrient losses, these changes could further cause disturbances to soil microbial-community activity. The aim of this study was to examine chemical and biological changes in soil under two post-fire practices: salvage logging and unlogged, natural regeneration of burned areas, in the recently burned Byria Forest in Israel. Results indicated that salvage logging had a short- lived effect on soil chemical and biological properties that was confined mostly to the first year after logging. Soil moisture was greatly affected by salvage logging, and drier conditions were found in the logged compared to the unlogged burned areas. Moreover, logging had a negative effect on microbial biomass, with reduced biomass in the logged compared to unlogged areas, which was more evident during the first year after fire. These findings support the recommendations in the literature to postpone post-fire practices such as logging or, in turn, to combine the two practices in order to create a mosaic of burned-logged and burned-naturally regenerated areas.

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Ginzburg, O. and Steinberger, Y. (2012) Salvage logging versus natural regeneration post-fire practices in a forest: Soil chemical and microbial aspects. Open Journal of Ecology, 2, 29-37. doi: 10.4236/oje.2012.21004.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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