Date of Award:

5-2018

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Wildland Resources

Advisor/Chair:

James N. Long

Abstract

The Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA), the United States’ forest census, measured sixty-six Mexican spotted owl nest stands in order gain insight into the structure and composition of the nest habitat of this threatened species. I used these data, along with the greater FIA database and the Forest Vegetation Simulator to explore questions surrounding the management of Mexican spotted owl habitat, specifically how to balance the objective of sustaining and enhancing nest habitat in face of increasing forest fire size and severity in the Southwest. My research consisted of three studies. The first study quantified the structure and composition of the Mexican spotted owl nest stands and scrutinized current evaluation criteria of nest habitat. The second study estimated how much of the Southwestern landscape is at risk to high-severity crown fire and how much of the landscape is suitable Mexican spotted owl nest habitat. The third study modeled forest dynamics and silvicultural intervention in potential Mexican spotted owl nest stands. The purpose of this research is to assist in management of Southwestern forests in order to decrease fire size and severity while sustaining and enhancing current and future Mexican spotted owl nest habitat.

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