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Title: Thinning and prescribed fire effects on dwarf mistletoe severity in an eastern Cascade Range dry forest, Washington

Author: Hessburg, Paul F.; Povak, Nicholas A.; Salter, R. Brion;

Date: 2008

Source: Forest Ecology and Management. 255: 2907-2915

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Forest thinning and prescribed fire practices are widely used, either separately or in combination, to address tree stocking, species composition, and wildland fire concerns in western US mixed conifer forests. We examined the effects of these fuel treatments alone and combined on dwarf mistletoe infection severity immediately after treatment and for the following 100 years. Thinning, burning, thin + burn, and control treatments were applied to 10 ha units; each treatment was replicated three times. Dwarf mistletoe was found in ponderosa pine and/or Douglas-fir in all units prior to treatment. Stand infection severity was low to moderate, and severely infected trees were the largest in the overstory. Thinning produced the greatest reductions in tree stocking and mistletoe severity. Burning reduced stocking somewhat less because spring burns were relatively cool with spotty fuel consumption and mortality. Burning effects on vegetation were enhanced when combined with thinning; thin + burn treatments also reduced mistletoe severity in all size classes. Stand growth simulations using the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) showed a trend of reduced mistletoe spread and intensification over time for all active treatments. When thinned and unthinned treatments were compared, thinning reduced infected basal area and treatment effects were obvious, beginning in the second decade. The same was true with burned and unburned treatments. Treatment effects on infected tree density were similar to infected basal area; however, treatment effects diminished after 20 years, suggesting a retreatment interval for dwarf mistletoe.

Keywords: Dwarf mistletoe, dry forest, prescribed burning, thinning, Fire and Fire Surrogate

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Hessburg, Paul F.; Povak, Nicholas A.; Salter, R. Brion. 2008. Thinning and prescribed fire effects on dwarf mistletoe severity in an eastern Cascade Range dry forest, Washington. Forest Ecology and Management. 255: 2907-2915.


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