Some forests in the Western United States will have been logged at different times and by different methods i.e. clearcut vs selective logging.

As time goes by, the trees will grow back but this results in different environments and amount of wildlife as well as some areas being easier to hike with less deadfall on the ground.

Are their historical maps of when a forest in the US was logged?


In the US prior to about 1900, there was little control over logging. Around 1900 the practice of Reforestation began gaining tracktion, with more oversight and controls.

Forest that have never been logged are called "Old Growth" or "Virgin" forests. Wikipedia has a list of US Old Growth Forests these will have never been logged (I am going to ignore selective harvesting as healthy management practice for simplicty)

As a partial answer, it is relatively easy to find one of the few areas that have never been logged.

In my experience being under the canopy of a forest area that has not been logged in ~50 years is very similar to old growth. I think the key you are interested in is mapping logging in the last 50 years.

This question intrigues me, so I have been looking for maps of logging, and I am not finding any. Here is a guess on why they may not exist.

  1. Road and topography are relatively stable, these maps are easy to find.
  2. Logging is much like farming, it is always occuring and transient in impact
  3. Decisions to log a specific area are complex and mostly relative to very local considerations
  4. There is not a single clearing house for the information.
  5. There might be Reforestation maps and I found some like globalforestwatch I currently live in an area with very little comerical logging so I can not speak to the accuracy of it or others.
  • I would have thought that, at least on National Forest land, that records of the permits would be kept. Now, getting access to those files might be fairly difficult... – Jon Custer Aug 31 '18 at 16:12
  • @JonCuster I concur, but that would not be a map. Also I think (guess) that would mostly be at the local level, realistically the locat ranger would be a better source of information. – James Jenkins Aug 31 '18 at 16:16

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