|Natural post-fire erosion can deplete soil, further impairing vegetative recovery. Human disturbance can compact soils and channelize flow paths, thereby exacerbating natural erosion.|
*Reduced wildlife habitat: Most wildlife species rely on dead trees in one way or another. Of the 102 terrestrial vertebrate species in Washington State, over half (56) require dead tree boles (snags) to nest or den (Hutto 2006). Across the West, 150 species of vertebrates rely on dead trees for nesting or denning (Rose et al 2001).
|Less than three months post-fire, bark beetles in the Jemez Mountains, NM were so active they created large piles of sawdust. Needless to say, woodpeckers were extremely active in this area.|
*Impaired natural vegetation recovery: SL results in increased mortality of pine seedlings (Castro et al 2011).
Going forward, there needs to be broader recognition of the ability of ecosystems to recover from natural disturbances and the essential role of biological legacies (in this case, dead burned trees) in the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem processes (Lindenmeyer, Burton, and Franklin, 2008). Those burned trees are hard at work shepherding the forest back to life, not wasted timber that must be "salvaged".