Native logging increases bushfire risk?
Friday 19 Feb 2021The logging of native trees has been shown to increase the risk of bushfires rather than reducing it, according to new scientific evidence. The findings, released on Friday by the Bushfire Recovery Project, contradict the forest industry’s long-held claims that selective logging helps reduce bushfire fuel loads.
As part of their research, scientists from Queensland’s Griffith University and Canberra’s Australian National University analysed 51 peer-reviewed studies by at least 100 scientists focusing on native Eucalypt forest in southeast Australia.
They found that chopping down and culling native trees ahead of bushfire season could have the unintended effect of making the land more flammable. That’s partly because when loggers chop down trees, they typically leave behind parts of dead branches and debris they don’t want, said Professor Brendan Mackey, the director of Griffith University’s Climate Action Beacon research program.
“You end up with a lot more dead branches, which become fuel,” Professor Mackey said. “And then when you open up the canopy and expose the forest to more sunlight and wind, it dries out the fuel that’s there and makes it more flammable.” The scientists found that not only does native logging increase bushfire risk, but that this danger can last for several decades.
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