Fire/logging for stable forest ecosystem?

neufeld at news.brandonu.ca neufeld at news.brandonu.ca
Wed May 4 20:16:30 EST 1994


I have been trying to put a few ideas together about logging in
British Columbia and would like some feedback from you.

1. Selective logging can be detrimental to the forest gene pool.

When only the largest, straight, prime specimens are removed from a
forest, the remaining trees either are genetically inferior members of
a desirable species or members of a less desirable species. If this is
correct, the optimum harvesting practice would seem to be small clear
cuts.

2. Preventing forest fires and logging in a forest leads to a buildup
   of forest trash that can exacerbate the damage when a forest fire
   eventually burns through an area.

Some forest ecosystems, such as the longleaf pine - wiregrass
ecosystem of the south-eastern US, are fire adapted and will not be
sustained if forest fires are prevented (beech-magnolia takes over).
Are the forests of BC similar? I remember reading that the forest
fires that burned through Yellowstone a few years ago caused so much
damage because of the trash buildup that resulted from preventing
natural fires and logging in previous years. Are forest fires and or
logging necessary to maintain a stable forest ecosystem in BC? Are
there important differences in management practices of the coastal
temperate rain forests and the drier interior regions?

Thanks in advance for your interest, ideas and feedback.


Gerry Neufeld, Brandon University, Brandon, MB, Canada

neufeld at brandonu.ca



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