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New Forests

, Volume 43, Issue 5–6, pp 601–613 | Cite as

Post-fire salvage logging increases restoration costs in a Mediterranean mountain ecosystem

  • Alexandro B. Leverkus
  • Carolina Puerta-Piñero
  • José Ramón Guzmán-Álvarez
  • Javier Navarro
  • Jorge Castro
Article

Abstract

Post-fire salvage logging (i.e. felling and removing burnt trees, often eliminating the remaining woody debris) is a practice routinely performed by forest managers worldwide. In Mediterranean-type ecosystems, salvage logging is considered a measure to reduce future reforestation costs, but this assumption remains largely untested. We made a cost analysis of different management schemes, addressing the immediate post-fire burnt-wood management as well as the costs and success of subsequent reforestation efforts. Two experimental 25-ha plots were established in a burnt pine reforestation of SE Spain, in which three replicates of three post-fire treatments were applied: non-intervention (NI), partial cut plus lopping (PCL; felling and lopping off the branches from most of the trees, leaving all biomass in situ), and salvage logging (SL). After 4 years, a mechanised reforestation was undertaken, and seedling mortality was monitored for 2 years. The cost of all management operations was recorded in situ, and the cost of re-planting the dead seedlings was estimated according to the expenses of previous reforestation. Initial cost of wood management was greatest in SL and zero in NI. Reforestation cost was highest in NI and lowest in SL, and seedling-mortality rates proved lowest in PCL (43 % vs. 51 % and 52 % in SL and NI, respectively). Considering all the post-fire management operations, salvage logging did not provide particular economic advantages for forest restoration, and had an overall cost of 3,436 ± 340 €/ha. By contrast, NI and PCL reduced total restoration costs by 50 and 35 %, respectively, and PCL indeed promoted restoration success. We suggest that the full cost of management operations needs to be considered when evaluating the economic implications of post-fire salvage logging.

Keywords

Forest economics Nurse objects Post-fire restoration Salvage logging 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía, and the Direction of the Natural and National Park of Sierra Nevada for fieldwork permission, treatment implementation, and facilities. We thank Francisco Vílchez Álvarez and Ernesto Punzano Nieto (Andalusian Water and Environment Agency) for cost data provision. Ángela Sánchez Miranda and Carlos Serrano Hermo provided invaluable fieldwork. This study was supported by Project CGL2008-01671 from the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación and Project 10/2005 from the Organismo Autónomo de Parques Nacionales. CP-P had a postdoctoral fellowship (EX2009-0703) and AL had a Ph. D. grant from the Spanish Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte (Ref: AP2010-0272).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandro B. Leverkus
    • 1
  • Carolina Puerta-Piñero
    • 2
  • José Ramón Guzmán-Álvarez
    • 3
  • Javier Navarro
    • 4
  • Jorge Castro
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain
  2. 2.Unit 0948, APO AASmithsonian Tropical Research InstituteWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Grupo de Investigación SilvopasciculturaUniversidad de CórdobaCórdobaSpain
  4. 4.Sierra Nevada National Park, Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de AndalucíaGranadaSpain

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