Next Article in Journal
Fire Risk Assessment of Combustible Exterior Cladding Using a Collective Numerical Database
Previous Article in Journal
A Socio-Ecological Approach to Mitigating Wildfire Vulnerability in the Wildland Urban Interface: A Case Study from the 2017 Thomas Fire
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Assessing the Relationship between Forest Structure and Fire Severity on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

1
National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
2
Tall Timbers Research Station, Tallahassee, FL 32312, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 4 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 21 February 2019
Full-Text   |   PDF [5498 KB, uploaded 21 February 2019]   |  

Abstract

While operational fire severity products inform fire management decisions in Grand Canyon National Park (GRCA), managers have expressed the need for better quantification of the consequences of severity, specifically forest structure. In this study we computed metrics related to the forest structure from airborne laser scanning (ALS) data and investigated the influence that fires that burned in the decade previous had on forest structure on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. We found that fire severity best explains the occurrence of structure classes that include canopy cover, vertical fuel distribution, and surface roughness. In general we found that high fire severity resulted in structure types that exhibit lower canopy cover and higher surface roughness. Areas that burned more frequently with lower fire severity in general had a more closed canopy and a lower surface roughness, with less brush and less conifer regeneration. In a random forests modeling exercise to examine the relationship between severity and structure we found mean canopy height to be a powerful explanatory variable, but still proved less informative than the three-component structure classification. We show that fire severity not only impacts forest structure but also brings heterogeneity to vegetation types along the elevation gradient on the Kaibab plateau. This work provides managers with a unique dataset, usable in conjunction with vegetation, fuels and fire history data, to support management decisions at GRCA. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest structure; fire severity; wildfire; LiDAR; fire management; Kaibab Plateau; Grand Canyon National Park forest structure; fire severity; wildfire; LiDAR; fire management; Kaibab Plateau; Grand Canyon National Park
Figures

Figure 1

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).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Hoff, V.; Rowell, E.; Teske, C.; Queen, L.; Wallace, T. Assessing the Relationship between Forest Structure and Fire Severity on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Fire 2019, 2, 10.

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.

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Fire EISSN 2571-6255 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top