Fuel treatment longevity: a summary of the science. Working Papers in Southwestern Ponderosa Pine Forest Restoration #27

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Contribution to Book

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Northern Arizona University


Southwest Fire Science Consortium and Ecological Restoration Institute

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Dry forests of the western United States have been altered by long-term fire exclusion, resulting in a more dense forest structure and an increased risk of crown fire. Recently, thinning and prescribed fire treatments have been implemented in these forests for two main reasons: ecological restoration and fire hazard reduction. Ecological restoration is a holistic endeavor that focuses on restoring ecological patterns, processes, and functions. Ecological restoration goals often include restoring the process of fire to forested ecosystems and changing forest structure to fall within the historical range of variability as indicated by reference information. While fire hazard reduction is often a goal or an outcome of ecological restoration, not all treatments specifically designed to reduce fuels also restore ecosystem patterns, processes, and functions (Reinhardt et al. 2008). Fire hazard reduction treatments are designed specifically to reduce fire intensity, reduce fire severity, and increase the ability of firefighters to control wildfires (Table 1).

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