Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service
  
Treesearch

Research & Development Treesearch

 
Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Northern
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help
 

GeoTreesearch


Science.gov - We Participate


USA.gov  Government Made Easy


Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.
20090-6090

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

(526 KB)

Title: Pre-wildfire management treatments interact with fire severity to have lasting effects on post-wildfire vegetation response

Author: Shive, Kristen L.; Sieg, Carolyn H.; Fule, Peter Z.

Date: 2013

Source: Forest Ecology and Management. 297: 75-83.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Land managers are routinely applying fuel reduction treatments to mitigate the risk of severe, stand-replacing fire in ponderosa pine communities of the southwestern US. When these treatments are burned by wildfire they generally reduce fire severity, but less is known about how they influence post-wildfire vegetation recovery, as compared to pre-fire untreated areas. We re-measured existing plots on the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire 8 years after the wildfire to track plant community and exotic species response, as well as patterns of pine regeneration. We compared areas that experienced high- and low-severity burning, and also examined how pre-fire treatment (cutting in an uneven-aged harvesting system with prescribed fire) modified vegetation response. We detected persistent differences between low- and high-severity areas for nearly all variables measured. In high-severity areas overall understory plant cover was 40.6%, nearly three times that observed in low-severity areas; shrub cover was 18.4%, four and a half times greater than that observed in low-severity areas. We also detected significantly higher exotic forb cover in high-severity areas, although overall exotic response was generally quite low (<2%). Although this represents a slight decrease in exotic cover since the initial 2004/2005 measurements, the frequency of several exotic species did increase through time (particularly Tragopogon dubius and Verbascum thapsus). Pre-fire treatment resulted in significantly higher pine regeneration frequency in treated versus untreated areas. Within low severity areas, mean pine regeneration frequency was 0.17 in pre-fire untreated areas versus 0.06 in areas that were not treated before the fire. Within high severity burned areas, mean pine regeneration frequency was 0.67 in pre-fire treated areas, but was only 0.19 in pre-fire untreated areas. This treatment effect in high-severity areas may be linked to reduction in the overall patch size of high burn severity in pre-fire treated areas, which resulted in a more heterogeneous mixture of low and moderate severity burning in the neighborhood. This pattern decreased distance to seed source, which likely facilitated the more frequent pine regeneration observed. In addition to the well-documented benefits of fuel reduction treatments in reducing subsequent fire severity, these data suggest that even where treated areas do burn severely the size of severely burned patches is limited in extent, which is likely to have important ramifications for future reforestation and retention of foundation species.

Keywords: high severity, ponderosa pine, pine regeneration, exotic species, Arizona, Rodeo-Chediski Fire

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

XML: View XML

Citation:


Shive, Kristen L.; Sieg, Carolyn H.; Fule, Peter Z. 2013. Pre-wildfire management treatments interact with fire severity to have lasting effects on post-wildfire vegetation response. Forest Ecology and Management. 297: 75-83.

 


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.