Abstract: In dry western Unites States forests where past resource management has altered the ecological role of fire and stand characteristics alike, mechanical thinning and prescribed burning are commonly applied in wildfire hazard abatement. The reduced surface fuel loads and stand structures resulting from fuels modifications are temporary, yet few studies have assessed the lifespan of treatment effects. We sampled forest fuels and vegetation following fuels reduction in a chronosequence of time since treatment in the northern Sierra Nevada and southern Cascade regions of California. Treatments altered overstory characteristics including stand density, basal area, and species composition. These effects were still present on the oldest treatment sites (8–15 years post-treatment). Other stand characteristics, particularly timelag fuel loads, seedling density, and shrub cover, exhibited substantial variability, and differences between treatment age classes and between treatment and control groups were not statistically significant.
Keywords: eastside pine; fire hazard; fuel break; fuel treatment longevity; Jeffrey pine; mixed conifer; prescribed fire; Sierra Nevada; thinning
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Chiono, L.A.; O’Hara, K.L.; De Lasaux, M.J.; Nader, G.A.; Stephens, S.L. Development of Vegetation and Surface Fuels Following Fire Hazard Reduction Treatment. Forests 2012, 3, 700-722.
Chiono LA, O’Hara KL, De Lasaux MJ, Nader GA, Stephens SL. Development of Vegetation and Surface Fuels Following Fire Hazard Reduction Treatment. Forests. 2012; 3(3):700-722.
Chiono, Lindsay A.; O’Hara, Kevin L.; De Lasaux, Michael J.; Nader, Glenn A.; Stephens, Scott L. 2012. "Development of Vegetation and Surface Fuels Following Fire Hazard Reduction Treatment." Forests 3, no. 3: 700-722.