Next Article in Journal
Robust Model Predicts Shoot Phenology of Fraser Fir under Extreme Conditions
Next Article in Special Issue
Exploring the Future of Fuel Loads in Tasmania, Australia: Shifts in Vegetation in Response to Changing Fire Weather, Productivity, and Fire Frequency
Previous Article in Journal
Downed Coarse Woody Debris Dynamics in Ash (Fraxinus spp.) Stands Invaded by Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire)
Previous Article in Special Issue
What Drives Low-Severity Fire in the Southwestern USA?
Article Menu
Issue 4 (April) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Forests 2018, 9(4), 192;

Can Land Management Buffer Impacts of Climate Changes and Altered Fire Regimes on Ecosystems of the Southwestern United States?

US Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA
Department of Geography, University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR 72035, USA
US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula, MT 59808, USA
School of Forestry, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 2 April 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 7 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildland Fire, Forest Dynamics, and Their Interactions)
Full-Text   |   PDF [48094 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]   |  


Climate changes and associated shifts in ecosystems and fire regimes present enormous challenges for the management of landscapes in the Southwestern US. A central question is whether management strategies can maintain or promote desired ecological conditions under projected future climates. We modeled wildfire and forest responses to climate changes and management activities using two ecosystem process models: FireBGCv2, simulated for the Jemez Mountains, New Mexico, and LANDIS-II, simulated for the Kaibab Plateau, Arizona. We modeled contemporary and two future climates—“Warm-Dry” (CCSM4 RCP 4.5) and “Hot-Arid” (HadGEM2ES RCP 8.5)—and four levels of management including fire suppression alone, a current treatment strategy, and two intensified treatment strategies. We found that Hot-Arid future climate resulted in a fundamental, persistent reorganization of ecosystems in both study areas, including biomass reduction, compositional shifts, and altered forest structure. Climate changes increased the potential for high-severity fire in the Jemez study area, but did not impact fire regime characteristics in the Kaibab. Intensified management treatments somewhat reduced wildfire frequency and severity; however, management strategies did not prevent the reorganization of forest ecosystems in either landscape. Our results suggest that novel approaches may be required to manage future forests for desired conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: wildfire; climate change; management; resilience; modeling; southwest wildfire; climate change; management; resilience; modeling; southwest

Graphical abstract

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Loehman, R.; Flatley, W.; Holsinger, L.; Thode, A. Can Land Management Buffer Impacts of Climate Changes and Altered Fire Regimes on Ecosystems of the Southwestern United States? Forests 2018, 9, 192.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Forests EISSN 1999-4907 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top