Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Snag longevity and surface fuel accumulation following post-fire logging in a ponderosa pine dominated forest.

Abstract

In a study of post-fire logging effects over an 8 year period at Blacks Mountain Experimental Forest, salvage logging was conducted at varying levels of intensity after a 2002 wildfire event. In a designed experiment, harvest prescriptions with snag retention levels ranging from 0% to 100% in 15 experimental units were installed. Observations of standing snags and surface fuels were made 2, 4, 6, and 8 years after the fire. Fire-killed snags fell rapidly over time, leading to elevated surface fuel levels in areas where no salvage logging was done. The 1000 h and larger surface fuels were strongly related with basal area retention level, with values ranging from 0-60 Mg ha-1 by year eight. However, when expressed as a percent of standing retained biomass, surface fuel accumulation was not related to treatment. In year 8, surface fuel was 81% of retained bole biomass. The retention of snags after this wildfire event provided snags for wildlife foraging and nesting habitat, however most of these snags were lost within 8 years after the fire. White fir snags were more stable than pine and appeared to be used with greater frequency than pine for cavity excavation.