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Title: Historic role of fire in determining annual water yield from Tenderfoot Creek Experimental Forest, Montana, USA

Author: McCaughey, Ward W.; Farnes, Phillip E.; Hansen, Katherine J.;

Date: 1997

Source: In: 65th Annual Meeting, Western Snow Conference: Joint Meeting with the 54th annual Eastern Snow Conference and Canadian Geophysical Union.; 1997 May 4-8; Banff, AB. Brush Prairie, WA: Western Snow Conference. p. 52-60.

Publication Series: Paper (invited, offered, keynote)

Description: Water production from mountain watersheds depends on total precipitation input, the type and distribution of precipitation, the amount intercepted in tree canopies, and losses to evaporation, transpiration and groundwater. A systematic process was developed to estimate historic average annual runoff based on fire patterns, habitat cover types and precipitation patterns on the Tenderfoot Creek Experimental Forest. A fire history study in the Little Belt Mountains of central Montana indicates much of the experimental forest watershed burned in the 1700's and 1600's. Fire scars and existing timber stands on the 3,709 ha experimental forest show that two fires occurred in the 1700's and six in the 1800's covering more than 1,660 ha (45 percent) and 2 ,415 ha (65 percent), respectively. One small 32 ha stand on the experimental forest has not burned since 1580. The last major fire (206 ha) occurred in 1902 and three other small fires (covering only 19 ha) have been observed since the implementation of active fire suppression in the early 1900's. There has been no logging on this 3,709 ha forest of which 9 percent of the total area is composed of non-timbered meadows or rock outcrops.

Keywords: fire, annual water yield, watersheds, Tenderfoot Creek Experimental Forest

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Citation:


McCaughey, Ward W.; Farnes, Phillip E.; Hansen, Katherine J. 1997. Historic role of fire in determining annual water yield from Tenderfoot Creek Experimental Forest, Montana, USA. In: 65th Annual Meeting, Western Snow Conference: Joint Meeting with the 54th annual Eastern Snow Conference and Canadian Geophysical Union.; 1997 May 4-8; Banff, AB. Brush Prairie, WA: Western Snow Conference. p. 52-60.

 


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