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 (3.6 MB)

Title: Thinning and prescribed fire effects on snag abundance and spatial pattern in an eastern Cascade Range dry forest, Washington, USA

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

Date: 2010

Source: Forest Science. 56(1): 74-87

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Mechanical thinning and prescribed burning practices are commonly used to address tree stocking, spacing, composition, and canopy and surface fuel conditions in western US mixed conifer forests. We examined the effects of these fuel treatments alone and combined on snag abundance and spatial pattern across 12 10-ha treatment units in central Washington State. A snag census was conducted before and immediately after treatments on each unit where all snags were measured and classified as either "new" (< 1 year as a snag) or "old" (> 1 year as a snag) mortality, and bark beetle species were censused on the bottom 3 m of the bole. Before treatment, snags were found in all units and more than two-thirds of the snags were ponderosa pine. Burning (burn-only and thin + burn combined) treatments led to increases in total snag abundance in all but the largest diameter class. Snag abundance in the large snag class (>60 cm dbh) decreased in most treatment units indicating that units with high abundance before treatment had the potential to lose more snags with treatment or time. Treatments also affected the spatial distribution of snags. The thin-only treatment reduced clumpiness, leading to a more random snag distribution, whereas the burn-only and thin + burn treatments generally retained or enhanced a clumped snag distribution. Bark beetles attacked >75% of snags across all units before and after treatments, and red turpentine beetle (Dendroctonus valens LeConte) occurrence tended to increase after prescribed burning. Managers can use this information to tune silvicultural prescriptions to meet stocking, spacing, and fuel reduction objectives while retaining or recruiting snags, thereby increasing the utility of conditions for certain wildlife species.

Keywords: bark beetles, snags, dry forest, prescribed burning, fire and fire surrogate, mechanical

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.



Hessburg, Paul F.; Povak, Nicholas A.; Salter, R. Brion. 2010. Thinning and prescribed fire effects on snag abundance and spatial pattern in an eastern Cascade Range dry forest, Washington, USA. Forest Science. 56(1): 74-87.


 [ 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.