Demonstration Plots for Comparing Fuels Complexes and Profile Development in Untreated Stands Versus Stands Treated for the Management of Spruce Beetle Outbreaks and Implications for Fuels Manipulation
Mortality resulting from recent spruce beetle outbreaks in Intermountain forests has altered the fuels complex of infested stands. Landscape-scale silvicultural treatments have provided one alternative to reduce the long-term susceptibility of spruce-fir stands to infestation and enhance tree vigor. The effect of various silvicultural treatments on fuels complexes, or fuels development in managed stands verses unmanaged stands, however, is not well understood. For this project, we established permanent plots in untreated spruce-fir stands and stands managed for the spruce beetle to conduct fuel inventories and appraisals and demonstrate differences in the resulting fuel complexes. Based on these data, we also developed and implemented a fuel treatment on selected plots. We used the information derived from fuels inventories and appraisals to generate custom fuel models for both treated and untreated stands. Land managers may ultimately use these custom fuels models as input for BEHAVE or FARSITE runs. The results of output will provide insight into derivation of protocols used to measure and manipulate hazardous fuels on managed and naturally disturbed sites such as insect infestations and contribute information to spatially explicit data layers the Forest can use for fire management needs such as fuel consumption and smoke management.