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The Survival of Pinus ponderosa Saplings Subjected to Increasing Levels of Fire Behavior and Impacts on Post-Fire Growth

1
College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA
2
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
3
S. J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-5230, USA
4
Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Moscow, ID 83843, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Those authors contributed equally to this paper.
Received: 19 April 2019 / Revised: 3 May 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 9 May 2019
Improved predictions of tree species mortality and growth metrics following fires are important to assess fire impacts on forest succession, and ultimately forest growth and yield. Recent studies have shown that North American conifers exhibit a ‘toxicological dose-response’ relationship between fire behavior and the resultant mortality or recovery of the trees. Prior studies have not been conclusive due to potential pseudo-replication in the experimental design and time-limited observations. We explored whether dose-response relationships are observed in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) saplings exposed to surface fires of increasing fire behavior (as quantified by Fire Radiative Energy—FRE). We confirmed equivalent dose-response relationships to the prior studies that were focused on other conifer species. The post-fire growth in the saplings that survived the fires decreased with increasing FRE dosages, while the percentage mortality in the sapling dosage groups increased with the amount of FRE applied. Furthermore, as with lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), a low FRE dosage could be applied that did not yield mortality in any of the replicates (r = 10). These results suggest that land management agencies could use planned burns to reduce fire hazard while still maintaining a crop of young saplings. Incorporation of these results into earth-system models and growth and yield models could help reduce uncertainties associated with the impacts of fire on timber growth, forest resilience, carbon dynamics, and ecosystem economics. View Full-Text
Keywords: fire severity; growth; yield; succession fire severity; growth; yield; succession
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Steady, W.D.; Partelli Feltrin, R.; Johnson, D.M.; Sparks, A.M.; Kolden, C.A.; Talhelm, A.F.; Lutz, J.A.; Boschetti, L.; Hudak, A.T.; Nelson, A.S.; Smith, A.M.S. The Survival of Pinus ponderosa Saplings Subjected to Increasing Levels of Fire Behavior and Impacts on Post-Fire Growth. Fire 2019, 2, 23.

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