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Title: Postfire survival and flushing in three Sierra Nevada conifers with high initial crown scorch
Author: Hanson, C.; North, M.;
Source: International Journal of Wildland Fire 18: 857-864
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Description: With growing debate over the impacts of post-fire salvage logging in conifer forests of the western USA, managers need accurate assessments of tree survival when significant proportions of the crown have been scorched. The accuracy of fire severity measurements will be affected if trees that initially appear to be fire-killed prove to be viable after longer observation. Our goal was to quantify the extent to which three common Sierra Nevada conifer species may ‘flush’ (produce new foliage in the year following a fire from scorched portions of the crown) and survive after fire, and to identify tree or burn characteristics associated with survival.We found that, among ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa Dougl. ex. Laws) and Jeffrey pines (Pinus jeffreyi Grev.&Balf) with 100% initial crown scorch (no green foliage following the fire), the majority of mature trees flushed, and survived. Red fir (Abies magnifica A. Murr.) with high crown scorch (mean=90%) also flushed, and most large trees survived. Our results indicate that, if flushing is not taken into account, fire severity assessments will tend to overestimate mortality and post-fire salvage could remove many large trees that appear dead but are not.
Keywords: fire severity, Jeffrey pine, ponderosa pine, red fir
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Hanson, C.; North, M. 2009. Postfire survival and flushing in three Sierra Nevada conifers with high initial crown scorch. International Journal of Wildland Fire 18: 857–864.
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