New analysis finds Spotted Owls harmed by post-fire logging, not fire

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A federally threatened Spotted Owl in Arizona. Spotted owls profit from Forest fires, however are harmed by post-fire logging, usually known as ‘salvage’ or ‘restoration’ by the US Forest Service. Credit: Derek Lee

Are forest fires a menace to the imperiled Spotted Owl? For years, completely different teams of scientists assumed so, however a brand new examine turns this assumption on its head. Researchers from the John Muir Project, Pennsylvania State University, and Wild Nature Institute discovered that these earlier research constantly had a critical methodological flaw: they did not bear in mind the affect of post-fire logging on Spotted Owls.

“It turns out that the decline in Spotted Owl populations that sometimes occurs after forest fires is being driven by destructive post-fire logging practices, not by the fires themselves,” mentioned Dr. Chad Hanson, Research Ecologist with the John Muir Project.

Interestingly, within the absence of post-fire logging, Spotted Owls profit general from giant mixed-intensity forest fires, opposite to longstanding assumptions made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service.

“Federal wildlife and public land agencies have a serious misunderstanding of the science regarding wildfires and Spotted Owls,” famous Dr. Derek Lee, Associate Research Professor at Pennsylvania State University. “This leads them to mistakenly label forest fires as a threat to the Owls, and ignore the real threat: logging.”

Forest fires burn in a mosaic sample. Typically, even the most important forest fires are dominated by lower-intensity results, the place many of the mature timber stay inexperienced and survive, and the rest is comprised by higher-intensity fire patches the place the fires create “snag forest habitat”.

  • New Analysis Finds Spotted Owls Harmed by Post-fire Logging, Not Fire
    Burned forest is a uncommon habitat in western forests with extraordinarily excessive biodiversity worth. Even previous forest species like Spotted Owls profit from high-severity burned forest when it’s not broken by post-fire logging. Credit: Derek Lee
  • New Analysis Finds Spotted Owls Harmed by Post-fire Logging, Not Fire
    Post fire logging destroys biodiverse burned forest habitat that advantages Spotted Owls. Most research reporting unfavourable results of fire had been confounded by post-fire ‘salvage’ or ‘restoration’ logging reminiscent of this. Credit: Chad Hanson

“These patches of snag forest habitat have high levels of the small mammal prey that Spotted Owls need to survive and reproduce,” noticed Dr. Monica Bond, Principal Scientist with the Wild Nature Institute. “But post-fire logging destroys and eliminates snag forest habitat, and that harms Spotted Owls,” she added.


Researchers discover post-fire logging harms noticed owls


More data:
Hanson CT, Lee DE, Bond ML. 2021. Disentangling Post-Fire Logging and High-Severity Fire Effects for Spotted Owls. Birds 2021:147–157. doi.org/10.3390/birds2020011

Provided by
Wild Nature Institute


Citation:
New analysis finds Spotted Owls harmed by post-fire logging, not fire (2021, April 16)
retrieved 16 April 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-04-analysis-owls-post-fire.html

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