Journal of Biodiversity Management & ForestryISSN: 2327-4417

All submissions of the EM system will be redirected to Online Manuscript Submission System. Authors are requested to submit articles directly to Online Manuscript Submission System of respective journal.

Forest Fuels and Wildfire Hazard in Two Fire-Excluded Old-Growth Ponderosa Pine Stands: Contrasting Stand-Average Calculations with Measures of Spatial Heterogeneity

Forest managers in the northern Rocky Mountains are charged with conducting restoration treatments that will enhance the resilience of fire-dependent old-growth stands, and reduce their susceptibility to stand-replacing fire. Yet, stand-average metrics that are routinely used for prescription development poorly characterize the typically heterogeneous stand structure and forest fuels that are associated with old-growth forests. We conducted a proof-of-concept study to compare stand-average calculations of forest fuels and associated wildfire hazard to the within-stand spatial heterogeneity of those properties. We analyzed two fire-excluded old-growth ponderosa pine stands in western Montana, encompassing the moisture gradient across which the forest type occurs in this region. At one site, we also analyzed the effect of a restoration prescription to reduce fuels and abate wildfire hazards. Fixed-area plot sample data were analyzed to describe within-stand heterogeneity by analyzing the distributions of current and anticipated post-treatment plot conditions, and contrasting these with conventional stand-average calculations. Distributions of overstory structures, fuel loads, and modeled fire behaviors were typically non-normal, skewed, and varied widely. Generally, standaverage calculations poorly represented the range of within-stand conditions. The study’s findings highlight the heterogeneity of stand structure, forest fuels, and wildfire fire hazard in old-growth ponderosa pine stands, and reveal the shortcomings of analytical methods that simplify spatially heterogeneous stand data.

Special Features

Full Text


Track Your Manuscript

Media Partners