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Title: Post-fire response of coast redwood one year after the Mendocino lightning complex fires

Author: Douglas, Robert B.; Bendurel, Tom.;

Date: 2012

Source: In: Standiford, Richard B.; Weller, Theodore J.; Piirto, Douglas D.; Stuart, John D., tech. coords. Proceedings of coast redwood forests in a changing California: A symposium for scientists and managers. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-238. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. pp. 363-371

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests have undergone significant changes over the past century and are now in state more conducive for wildfires. Because fires have been uncommon in redwood forests over the past 80 years, managers have limited data to make decisions about the post-fire environment. In June 2008, a series of lightning storms moved through northern California igniting numerous fires throughout the redwood region of Mendocino County. Here, we collected fire-injury data on 1024 redwood trees on commercial timberlands three months after the fire and quantified mortality and biological responses one year later. Although over half the sampled trees had at least 90 percent of their crowns scorched, only 18.2 percent were completely top-killed after one year; and 87.7 percent of this mortality was confined to trees less than 20.3 cm in diameter. Over 80 percent of the trees regenerated leaves and shoots from axillary buds, and a similar percentage resprouted basally. Logistic regression modeling indicated that diameter at breast height (DBH), cambium kill, and percent crown scorch were significant predictors of tree mortality. These results indicate that although small redwoods are predicted to have the highest mortality, their ability to resprout may obviate the need for replanting in areas where redwood is dominant. The management implications for the larger surviving trees are less clear and require further longterm study to examine delayed mortality, growth rates, and wood quality.

Keywords: basal sprouting, fire injury, mortality, redwood, Sequoia, wildfire

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Douglas, Robert B.; Bendurel, Tom. 2012. Post-fire response of coast redwood one year after the Mendocino lightning complex fires. In: Standiford, Richard B.; Weller, Theodore J.; Piirto, Douglas D.; Stuart, John D., tech. coords. Proceedings of coast redwood forests in a changing California: A symposium for scientists and managers. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-238. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. pp. 363-371.

 


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