Canadian Forest Service Publications

Wood-feeding beetles and soil nutrient cycling in burned forests: implications of post-fire salvage logging. 2009. Cobb, T.P.; Hannam, K.D.; Kishchuk, B.E.; Langor, D.W.; Quideau, S.A.; Spence, J.R. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 12(1): 9-18.

Year: 2009

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 30267

Language: English

Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (request by e-mail)

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  1. Rising economic demands for boreal forest resources along with current and predicted increases in wildfire activity have increased salvage logging of burned forests. Currently, the ecological consequences of post-fire salvage logging are insufficiently understood to develop effective management guidelines or to adequately inform policy decision-makers.
  2. We used both field and laboratory studies to examine the effects of post-fire salvage logging on populations of the white-spotted sawyer Monochamus scutellatus scutellatus (Say) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) and its ecological function in boreal forest.
  3. Monochamus s. scutellatus adults were relatively abundant in both burned and clear-cut logged sites but were absent from salvage logged sites.
  4. An in situ mesocosm experiment showed that the abundance of M. s. scutellatus larvae in burned white spruce bolts was linked to changes in total organic nitrogen and carbon in mineral soil.
  5. Organic nutrient inputs in the form of M. s. scutellatus frass increased mineral soil microbial respiration rates by more than three-fold and altered the availability of nitrogen. Changes in nitrogen availability corresponded with decreased germination and growth of Epilobium angustifolium and Populus spp. but not Calamagrostis canadensis.
  6. Although the present study focused on local scale effects, the reported findings suggest that continued economic emphasis on post-fire salvage logging may have implications beyond the local scale for biodiversity conservation, nutrient cycling and plant community composition in forest ecosystems recovering from wildfire.