Forest practices to minimize the risk of disturbances

In unmanaged forests, disturbances such as wind, insect outbreaks and fire are the main factors changing forest structures. In managed forests, disturbances often affect the provisioning of wanted goods and services (e.g., wood, carbon sequestration, recreation). Therefore, forest management measures are taken to minimize the risk of disturbances.

The post-disturbance management depends on the type of disturbance. The most broadly applied post-disturbance forest management is salvage logging. Salvage logging is the felling and removal of trees in naturally disturbed forests, with the primary intention to recoup economic losses, reduce hazards to infrastructure and ensure human safety. It is used in case of windstorms, wildfires and insect outbreaks. Salvage logging is also used to prevent further disturbances such as bark beetle outbreaks in Norway spruce forests after a windstorm or severe drought period.

Volume of salvage logged wood in ten EU27 countries, M m3


Salvage logged timber in Czech Republic.

Logged timber.jpg

Photo by R. Castañeda.

Another widely used post-disturbance management measure is to restore forests by planting quickly after disturbance to aid recovery. Other practices include applying pesticides or fungicides to remaining trees and/or tree stumps to prevent the further spread of insects, pathogens and harmful fungi.