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Logging After Fire

     Green forests are beloved because of the peace and tranquility they provide. Forests are beloved for being wild and dynamic yet we struggle when they are changed by fire. Fire makes the forest look blackened and desolate, like moonscapes. Roll in that the fire consumed the forest, destroyed it. Yet one of the best-kept secrets is that fires themselves don’t hurt forests, feed climate change, or threaten water quality. Forests are constantly in a state of flux, storing and releasing carbon and oxygen. Young forests emerging from the charcoal are forests too. So is logging and replanting these areas the best way to get back? Or does logging set the forest back?

     Well, scientists have discovered that more carbon is stored in the burned forest if it is not logged after fire.  The remaining trees stabilize the soil, and plants and trees emerge quickly after. Burned forests attract all kinds of animals and birds. Fires provide a free for all for fields of wildflowers, native grasses and berries to emerge. New trees sprout by the thousands per acre! The big-fire killed snags fall down and become homes to animals, like bears, foxes and woodpeckers.

            Logging areas burned by fire kills young plants and trees, pushes dirt into stream and dries out the forest floor making it very hard, if not impossible, for our once-beloved wild forests to come back. Top scientists tell us that older forests are the best buffers against climate change as they continue to add mass carbon as they age. Burned forests can become old forests, if we do not log them. Fire and other natural disturbances do not cause a major loss in carbon from burned forests, if not followed by logging.