This study, “Forest restoration limits megafires and supports species conservation under climate change” ($), by Gavin Jones et al, is described in a Treehugger article. Excerpts:
“Forest restoration often involves some removal of live trees—mostly small and medium-sized trees in the forest understory that have grown in because of fire exclusion. These smaller trees increase fire risk to owl habitat, and removal of these smaller trees will protect the rare, larger trees that owls use for nesting,” lead author Gavin Jones, Ph.D., a research ecologist with the USDA Forest Service (USFS) Rocky Mountain Research Station, tells Treehugger.”
“We found the direct, and potential negative effects of forest restoration to owl habitat (that is, removal of trees in owl habitat) were small relative to the positive effects that restoration had on reducing fire risk to owls,” Jones says. “So even though in some cases we found that restoration could have negative short-term impacts to owls, it reduced the long-term impacts of severe fire. These long-term benefits led to better outcomes for owls.”
In some scenarios, the findings suggest that placing restoration treatments inside owl habitats would cut the predicted amount of severe fire almost in half compared to treating the same area outside of their territories.
This is another case of research confirming what many foresters and others have been saying for years.