Skip to main content

  MyEnvironment Inc / Work / Forests / Forest Resources / Effects of Logging on Fire Regimes in Wet Forests  

Effects of Logging on Fire Regimes in Wet Forests



Does logging reduce the fire proneness of forests? This question is often posed after major wildfires, especially those marked by substantial loss of human life or infras- tructure, such as occurred in February 2009 in south east- ern Australia, the worst fires in Australia’s history with the loss of 173 lives and more than 3000 homes. In the wake of fires such as these, calls for forests to be logged to prevent major wildfires have been made by senior public officials (Tuckey 2001) and by a key lobby group (Na- tional Association of Forest Industries 2009a,b,c). Similar arguments have also characterized fire and forest man- agement debates in western North America (DellaSala et al. 2004; Odion et al. 2004). For example, Aber et al. (2000, p. 12) noted that “conversion of old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest [of the USA] has sometimes been justified on grounds that it reduced the potential for catastrophic fire.” They further stated that perceptions that managed (logged) landscapes are less susceptible to wildfire than unmanaged ones are “an article of faith.” Indeed, the opposite may be the case in some forests as