Wildfires can have a devastating effect on forests. However, timber salvage operations can be conducted by owners of forests so that some money can be got from selling the salvaged timber to sawmills or manufacturers of timber products. This article discusses some of the considerations that can guide you regarding the necessity of a timber salvage operation:
The Damage Sustained
You need to inspect your woodlots so that you can assess the kind of damage that the trees sustained during that wildfire. Some damage, such as damage to the canopy, may not justify carrying out a timber salvage operation because the trees stand a chance to recover from the damage. However, damage to the lower sections of the stem (the first 10-20 feet, for example) justifies salvage operations because such a tree may not recover.
The Magnitude of the Damage
Salvage operations cost a lot of resources, such as equipment hire and labour. Your decision to conduct the timber salvage operation should, therefore, be guided by the number of trees that were affected in the wildfire. The earnings that you expect to get from selling that salvaged timber should offset the costs of the salvage operation and leave you with some profit.
The Species Affected
It is common for forests to have different species of commercially viable trees. The urgency with which timber salvage operations should be conducted varies from one species to another. For instance, salvage operations should be conducted quickly if softwoods are affected by a wildfire. This is because such species degrade rapidly once they are damaged. However, hardwoods can retain their timber quality for long after being damaged by a forest fire. You can wait to conduct the salvage operation for hardwoods until the market price of the salvaged timber rises.
Purpose of the Timber
Tree growers normally plant those trees for veneer or for regular lumber. That chosen purpose plays a role in determining how quickly you should salvage damaged timber after a wildfire. For example, veneer timber can lose its value if you delay its salvage due to the stains that develop after a fire. Ordinary lumber doesn't have to be salvaged as quickly as veneer timber.
Wildfires should not cause you to lose your trees completely. Salvage operations conducted in a timely manner can enable you to redeem some of the projected value of those trees. Use the factors above to make an appropriate decision regarding the necessity for salvage operations. Ask salvage timber specialists for more guidance in case you are unsure about how to proceed.