USGS Western Ecological Research Center

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Post-Fire Treatment Impacts on Fine Fuels in Westside Sierra Nevada Forests

Fire ravaged forest
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This study, funded by the Joint Fire Science Program, investigates how postfire treatments affect fuel load, fuel structure, plant community composition, and potential fire behavior on the west side of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The four major fire areas in this study encompass a diverse range of silvicultural and environmental conditions and provide a 20-year look at postfire plant succession. The treatments include salvage-logging, feller-bunching, deep soil tilling site preparation, herbicide site preparation, conifer planting and herbicide release. The effects of these treatments at different elevations and latitudes will be determined by comparing treatments to controls and various treatment combinations to one another.

Objectives

  1. Does postfire salvage logging increase fine fuel loads by promoting annual grasses and forbs?

  2. Does postfire shrub removal increase fine fuel loads by promoting annual grasses and forbs?

  3. Does the replacement of native postfire vegetation with conifer plantations increase dead and down fuel loads?

  4. Does the replacement of native postfire vegetation with open-canopy conifer plantations increase fine fuel loads by promoting annual grasses and forbs?

  5. Does the replacement of native postfire vegetation with closed-canopy conifer plantations increase crown fire potential?

  6. Does the replacement of native postfire vegetation with conifer plantations increase the duration, intensity and seasonality of potential fires?

  7. Do forests that regenerate naturally after fires have more diverse canopy heights, canopy spacing, and tree species diversity than conifer plantations, and are they therefore less likely to burn in a crown fire?

  8. Do forests that regenerate naturally after fires have more diverse canopy heights, canopy spacing, and tree species diversity than conifer plantations, and are they therefore less likely to burn in a crown fire?

For more information about this study, please contact:

Thomas W. McGinnis, Project Manager
E-mail: tmcginnis@usgs.gov
Telephone: 559-565-4262

Or write to:

USGS Western Ecological Research Center
Sequoia-Kings Canyon Field Station
47050 Generals Highway #4
Three Rivers, California 93271



USGS Contact For This Project
Jon E. Keeley
jon_keeley@usgs.gov
(559) 565-3170
Sequoia and Kings Canyon Field Station
47050 Generals Highway #4
Three Rivers, CA 93271-9651
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