Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

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

(202) 205-8333

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

Publication Information

View PDF (344 KB)

Title: Chaparral shrub recovery after fuel reduction: a comparison of prescribed fire and mastication techniques

Author: Potts, J.; Marino, E.; Stephens, S.;

Date: 2010

Source: Plant Ecology 210(2): 303-315

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Fuel management techniques are commonly used in shrublands to reduce wildfire risk. However, more information about the ecological effects of these treatments is needed by managers and ecologists. In an effort to address this need, we performed a replicated (4 replicates per treatment) 48-ha experiment in northern California chaparral dominated by Adenostoma fasciculatum to determine the effects of two fuel reduction types (prescribed fire and mastication) and three different seasons of treatment (fall, winter, and spring) on shrub cover, height, and seedling density. Exclosures (2.5 m2 each) were also used to assess herbivory effects. By the third post-treatment year, prescribed fire treatments had higher shrub cover (71 ± 2%) than mastication (43 ± 4%). There was no treatment effect on shrub height, species richness, or composition. Seedling density was initially higher in prescribed fire treatments (31 ± 4 seedlings m−2) than mastication (3 ± 0 seedlings m−2); however, prescribed fire treatments experienced substantial mortality, especially spring burning, resulting in lower densities 3 years after treatments (18 ± 0 seedlings m−2 after fall and winter fire compared to 2 ± 0 seedlings m−2 after spring fire). A. fasciculatum remained the dominant shrub species after the treatments, and Ceanothus cuneatus recruitment was higher in fall burning. Deer herbivory only affected shrub height, especially in masticated units, resulting in heights of 55 ± 2 cm in unexclosed areas compared to 66 ± 4 cm inside exclosures by the third post-treatment year. Overall, our findings suggest that fuel treatments play an important role in shrubland community dynamics, at least in the short-term, with implications for re-treatment frequency, community structure, and wildlife habitat.

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.



Potts, J.; Marino, E.; Stephens, S. 2010. Chaparral shrub recovery after fuel reduction: a comparison of prescribed fire and mastication techniques. Plant Ecology 210(2): 303-315


 [ 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.