Fire Ecology and Management of the Major Ecosystems of Southern Utah

Sharon M. Hood
Melanie Miller
United States Department of Agriculture
Forest Service, Forest Service
Rocky Mountain Research Station, Rocky Mountain Research Station



This document provides managers with a literature synthesis of the historical conditions, current conditions, fire regime condition classes (FRCC), and recommended treatments for the major ecosystems in southern Utah. Sections are by ecosystems and include: 1) coniferous forests (ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, and Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir), 2) aspen, 3) pinyon-juniper, 4) big and black sagebrush, and 5) desert shrubs (creosotebush, blackbrush, and interior chaparral). Southern Utah is at the ecological crossroads for much of the western United States. It contains steep environmental gradients and a broad range of fuels and fire regimes associated with vegetation types representative of the Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, Northern Arizona and New Mexico, and the Mohave Desert. The Southern Utah Demonstration Area consists of contiguous state and federal lands within the administrative boundaries of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fishlake and Dixie National Forests, National Park Sevice, and State of Utah, roughly encompassing the southern 15 percent of Utah (3.24 million ha). The vegetation types described are similar in species composition, stand structure, and ecologic function, including fire regime to vegetation types found on hundreds of millions of hectares in the 11 western states.