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Wildland‐Urban Interface Communities' Response to Post-Fire Salvage Logging

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Salvage logging, the removal for profit of standing trees that have been damaged by extensive wildfires, has been quite controversial and subject to lawsuits that can delay the logging past the time in which the lumber is still useful. It has not been clear, however, whether the public that has been most affected by wildfires—those that live near burned areas—support or oppose postfire logging. In this research we use focus groups and stakeholder interviews in urban interface communities that have experienced significant wildfires to examine in some detail the perspectives these members of the public have regarding salvage logging. Public support for salvage logging in communities that have recently experienced wildfires was much stronger than hypothesized at the beginning of this study from our review of the number of unsuccessful salvage logging proposals or even popular press reports. Key reasons for supporting salvage logging were that letting useful timber rot was wasteful, that it improves the postfire aesthetics and safety of the forest, and that it can provide some income for local postfire restoration activities. Caveats include assuring that any environmental impacts, such as new roads, are mitigated postlogging, and assuring that appropriate snags are left to provide wildlife habitat.
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Keywords: forest esthetics; forest fire; forest management; forest restoration; wildfire; wildland‐urban interface—western United States

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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