Salvage Logging

Posted: December 26, 2011

Salvage loggingSalvage logging is the process of selective harvesting dead or diseased trees to improve the general health of a forest, especially in a protected growingareas.

There as been some controversy in the past as to how salvage logging impacts the forest, but most of the controversy involves traditional mechanical logging methods.

We are proud to say that 100% of the Doug Fir standing dead timber we produced in 2010 was exclusively harvested under the first timber sale available under the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA).  Specifically the USDA Forest Service planned and authorized project was the Middle East Fork Fuel Reduction Stewardship projects I & II. For reference the project identification is AG-082B1-C-10-0004.

The Middle East Fork Fuel Reduction projects were authorized under the Healthy Forest Restoration Act and passed into law by the U.S. Congress and President Bush in 2002. The HFRA specifically specifically address a growing concern regarding the wild fire risks in the Wildland – Urban interface.

The need for the fuel reduction process developed as an after effect of the huge 2000 Bitterroot Valley forest fires that burned over 300,000 acres. The effect of the fire along its perimeter boundary stressed adjacent timber, coupled with severe drought created the perfect environment for Douglas Fir bark beetles to explode from a passive endemic existence to a virulent epidemic condition that impacted most of the remaining National Forest that was not burned in the fires.

The USDA Forest Service Contract was specific in delineating the areas for harvest treatment, the methodology, which as strictly helicopter logging, as well as specifically delineating the included timber to remove as well as the trees to remain uncut. Every truck load of timber was strictly accounted by truck ticket and weight measure as to its destination for volume and stumpage payment requirements.

While the project was focussed on the fuel reduction benefits of removing the large standing dead Douglas Fir from the site, the US Fores Service silviculturist utilized the opportunity to concurrently remove sick, lame or “lazy” green timber that either showed signs of imminent mortality, damaged by mistletoe infection or most typical, positioned too close to residual Ponderosa Pine for good wild fire risk prevention for the preferred Pine.

We are so proud to say that all of our dead standing Douglas Fir timbers and beams are cut utilizing salvage logging methods that enhance our forest and drastically reduce the risk of future wild fires and beetle epidemics. Even if we can only salvage one flooring board from a dead standing tree we at Sustainable Lumber Company believe its worth it.