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Individual Highlight

International Symposium Improves Understanding of Disturbance and Salvage Logging and Forest Sustainability

Photo of Salvage operation following windthrow in the Allegheny high plateau region. USDA Forest ServiceSalvage operation following windthrow in the Allegheny high plateau region. USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : The Forest Service’s Northern Research Station along with the University of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History sponsored an international symposium in May 2015 where international research teams and forest managers addressed the ecological and economic costs and benefits of disturbance and salvage logging in diverse forest biomes and disturbances.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Royo, Alejandro A. 
Research Location : Allegheny National Forest
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2015
Highlight ID : 803


Salvage logging following natural disturbance is common in forests even though the practice is often criticized as being potentially harmful to biodiversity. In an effort to understand the ecological and silvicultural consequences of salvaging and to identify ways to enhance the sustainability of this practice, the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station co-sponsored a symposium with the University of Pittsburgh’s Mascaro Center and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. The meeting was attended by 65 participants, including 25 invited speakers representing leading research teams and land managers from North America, Europe, and Asia. Participants discussed the motivations for and consequences of salvage logging and identified some unifying themes and research needs. They generally agreed that salvaging does not inexorably generate adverse effects on forest ecosystems. Effects may vary depending on forest type, the disturbance event, such as wind, fire, insects, , and the ecological properties studied, such as soils, trees, and wildflowers. Participants also agreed that any evaluation of salvaging should distinguish between the effects of tree removals in itself, and the intensity of added disturbance to the site caused by salvaging. Participants concurred that research should consider disturbance type and severity in order to develop guidelines that lessen salvaging impacts and meet management goals.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Allegheny National Forest.
  • Mascaro Center for Sustainable Initiatives at the University of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Northern Research Station.