Event Title

Forest Structure Outcomes After Mixed-Severity Wildfire: Do They Meet Restoration Goals?

Presenter Information

Mike Battaglia

Location

USU Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

https://www.restoringthewest.org/

Streaming Media

Abstract

Over the past several decades, Western U.S. ponderosa pine forests have experienced a series of wildfires that have resulted in landscapes with burn mosaics ranging from low to high severity. Recent wildfires, while seemingly incompatible with management goals, may help advance them in some circumstances. Most focus their attention on the large high-severity portions of recent large fires, however, significant portions also burned with a finer, more heterogeneous mosaic of burn severities. In this research we examine the post-wildfire spatial and non-spatial patterns of residual forest and post-fire regeneration in low to moderate severity areas and compare it to historical reference conditions. Post-fire residual forest structure was dominated by ponderosa pine and some Douglas-fir with tree densities ranging between 164 to 331 trees hectare-1, and clear differentiation in both horizontal and vertical forest structure. Tree regeneration was dominated by ponderosa pine within 15 m of a surviving tree. These results suggest that low and moderate severity fire is moving the forest structure closer to restoration goals and show how quantifying the structural outcomes of wildfire provides a better understanding of how wildfires are supporting restoration objectives.

Comments

Mike Battaglia is a research forester with the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins. His research is focused on developing innovative management strategies aimed at enhancing forest resiliency to disturbance. He works across the Interior West in a variety of ecosystems spanning from low elevation ponderosa pine forests to subalpine Spruce-fir forests.

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Oct 17th, 2:00 AM Oct 17th, 2:30 AM

Forest Structure Outcomes After Mixed-Severity Wildfire: Do They Meet Restoration Goals?

USU Eccles Conference Center

Over the past several decades, Western U.S. ponderosa pine forests have experienced a series of wildfires that have resulted in landscapes with burn mosaics ranging from low to high severity. Recent wildfires, while seemingly incompatible with management goals, may help advance them in some circumstances. Most focus their attention on the large high-severity portions of recent large fires, however, significant portions also burned with a finer, more heterogeneous mosaic of burn severities. In this research we examine the post-wildfire spatial and non-spatial patterns of residual forest and post-fire regeneration in low to moderate severity areas and compare it to historical reference conditions. Post-fire residual forest structure was dominated by ponderosa pine and some Douglas-fir with tree densities ranging between 164 to 331 trees hectare-1, and clear differentiation in both horizontal and vertical forest structure. Tree regeneration was dominated by ponderosa pine within 15 m of a surviving tree. These results suggest that low and moderate severity fire is moving the forest structure closer to restoration goals and show how quantifying the structural outcomes of wildfire provides a better understanding of how wildfires are supporting restoration objectives.

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/rtw/2017/Oct17/10