Canadian Forest Service Publications

Using salvage logging and tolerance to risk to reduce the impact of forest fires on timber supply calculations. 2015. Leduc, A.; Bernier, P.Y.; Mansuy, N.; Raulier, F.; Gauthier, S.; Bergeron, Y. Can. J. For. Res. 45:480-486.

Year: 2015

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 35943

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1139/cjfr-2014-0434

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It is acknowledged that natural forest fires cannot and even should not be eliminated from the North American boreal forest. Forest fires produce immediate losses of wood volume, disrupt the conversion of the actual forest age structure into a target structure, and prevent planned timber supply (PTS) levels from being achieved. In this paper, we explore the extent to which periodic shortfalls in available timber under various burn rates can be mitigated through salvage logging and the tolerance of forest managers to a given level of shortfall, both as a function of forest age class structure. Simulations are done using both a deterministic and a stochastic representation of burn rate over time. Results show that the frequency of shortfall events can be reduced by salvage logging and by the introduction of measures that generate a tolerance to shortfall and that this mitigation potential is influenced by initial forest age class structure and burn rate. Results also show that even a 100% rate of salvage logging cannot fully compensate for timber losses to fire and eliminate fire-induced timber shortfalls. Furthermore, interannual burn rate variability reduces the efficiency of both mitigation measures. As the PTS is never realized under fire risk, the real cost of opting for different PTS scenarios should be estimated not from the difference in PTS but rather from the more realistic difference in realized timber harvest.

Plain Language Summary

This study shows that the frequency of periodic shortfalls in timber supply due to forest fires can be partially reduced by salvage logging and increased tolerance to these shortfalls by forest managers.

Forest fires cause immediate losses in timber volumes that disrupt the timber supply planned by forest managers. Post-fire salvage logging reduces these losses.