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Hastening the Return of Complex Forests Following Fire: The Consequences of Delay

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Over 54 days in 2002, the Biscuit Fire, the largest fire in recorded Oregon history, burned more than 400,000 acres. Much of the burned land was being managed under the federal Northwest Forest Plan to provide habitat for species that live in complex, older conifer-dominated forests as well as for recreation purposes. Only a narrow window of opportunity exists to hasten conifer restoration to complex forest conditions in a cost-effective manner, to reduce risks of insect epidemics and future fires, and to capture some economic value that could offset restoration costs. Delays in decisionmaking and implementation will likely destine much of the most intensely burned area to cycles of shrubs, hardwoods, and recurring fires for many decades. This is the opposite of what current management plans call for—maintenance of mature forests.

Keywords: Northwest Forest Plan; biodiversity; environmental management; forest; forest health; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; old-growth; policy; restoration

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: University Distinguished Professor and Stewart Professor of Forest Engineering College of Forestry Oregon State University 215 Peavy Hall Corvallis OR 97331-5706, Email: 2: Associate Professor Daniel B. Warnell School of Forest Resources University of Georgia Athens 3: Former Deputy Chief for Research USDA Forest Service Washington DC and Retired Professor of Forestry Oregon State University 4: Professor Emeritus College of Forestry Oregon State University Corvallis 5: Principal, HamannDonald Associates, Corvallis

Publication date: 2004-04-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 39.6 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

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    Forest Science
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