Coarse woody debris (CWD) is an important component in the structure and function of southwestern mixed-conifer forest ecosystems. However, fire suppression and exclusion policies have changed the structure and fuel loads, including CWD, during the last 130 years. Consequently, managers are faced with the threat of stand replacement fires over large spatial areas and are seeking solutions to these challenges using silvicultural techniques. Our paper presents CWD characteristics based on 100-h and 1000-h time-lag fuels before (2006) and after (2016) silvicultural treatments including harvest, prescribed fire, and no treatment (control) on mixed-conifer forests in southcentral New Mexico, USA. Results indicated late-season broadcast burns characterized by mild fire behavior reduced 100-h CWD (Mg ha−1
) and potentially 1000-h CWD. However, because control sites also saw reduced 1000-h CWD, this result was confounded. Harvest treatments maintained 1000-h CWD, which could be considered a compensatory response given the decrease in CWD on adjacent control sites over the same time period. This was supported by an increase in 1000-h logs per 75 m transect on harvest sites as compared to control sites. Silvicultural prescriptions including prescribed fire are useful tools to increase or decrease CWD to meet management objectives.
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