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Title: Duff mound consumption and cambium injury for centuries-old western larch from prescribed burning in western Montana
Author: Harrington, Michael G.;
Source: International Journal of Wildland Fire. 22: 359-367.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Description: Western larch is one of the most fire-adapted conifers in western North America. Its historical perpetuation depended upon regular fire disturbances, which creates open stand conditions and mineral seedbeds. A stand of 200- to 500-year-old larch in western Montana with deep duff mounds resulting from an unusually long 150-year fire-free period was mechanically thinned and prescribed burned to reduce the probability of high intensity wildfire near a community and increase opportunities for larch regeneration. Little documentation is available regarding basal damage to larch from lengthy duff mound burning; therefore this study was established to assess: duff consumption from prescribed burning and resulting cambial damage and tree vitality. Ninety trees averaging 91-cm diameter at breast height were selected, half with duff mounds measured and burned in autumn and half with mounds removed. Duff depths nearest the bole averaged 20 cm and mound consumption approached 100% including large amounts of the basal bark with smouldering combustion lasting 18-24 h. Cambial mortality ranged from 0 to 36% of the basal circumference but no trees had died after 7 years. The cambium mortality was likely due to the spatially infrequent coincident of deep duff and thinner bark. Under similar site and environmental conditions removal of the potential duff consumption injury hazard appears unwarranted.
Keywords: bark consumption, bark depth, duff depth, girdling, Larix occidentalis (Nutt.), tree mortality
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Harrington, Michael G. 2012. Duff mound consumption and cambium injury for centuries-old western larch from prescribed burning in western Montana. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 22: 359-367.
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