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The use of silviculture and prescribed fire to manage stand structure and fuel profiles in a multi-aged lodgepole pine forest

Author(s): Colin C. Hardy, Helen Y. Smith, Ward W. McCaughey
Year Published: 2006
Description:

This paper presents several components of a multi-disciplinary project designed to evaluate the ecological and biological effects of two innovative silvicultural treatments coupled with prescribed fire in an attempt to both manage fuel profiles and create two-aged stand structures in lodgepole pine. Two shelterwood silvicultural treatments were designed to replicate as well as enhance the existing multi-aged stand structure on the Tenderfoot Creek Experimental Forest in central Montana: the first, with reserve trees evenly distributed; the second, with reserves contained within small (1/10-1/4 acre) groups. Retention of reserve trees was targeted at 50%, without regard to diameter or species. Eight even distribution and eight group-retention treatments were applied on 16 units totaling 649 acres. Half of the units were broadcast burned following harvest using a common burn prescription on all units. Allowable overstory mortality specifi ed in the prescribed fi re plan was 50%. Plot-based fuel inventories and fire effects observations were performed at permanent plot locations prior to and following harvest, and after burning. Fuel moisture samples were acquired immediately prior to ignition. Data from four prescribed-burned treatment units were evaluated forthis paper: two even-retention units and two grouped retention units. Harvest activities resulted in signifi cant increases in fi ne-fuel loading (1-, 10-, and 100-hour fuel), whichwas subsequently reduced by prescribed fi re to near pre-harvest levels. Consumption of large woody fuel was similar for both treatment types. The fi re-induced mortality of overstory trees was greater in the even distribution than in the grouped distribution. Despite careful execution of a relatively conservative burn plan, mortality in the even treatments exceeded the prescription threshold of 50% by an additional 28%. Additional data collected at the plots include trees per acre, residual tree mortality, residual tree growth, regeneration, windthrow, hydrologic responses, soil impacts, and beetle activity. A comprehensive summary of the treatments will follow subsequent monitoring scheduled to occur five and ten years after burning.

Citation: Hardy, Colin C.; Smith, Helen Y.; McCaughey, Ward W. 2006. The use of silviculture and prescribed fire to manage stand structure and fuel profiles in a multi-aged lodgepole pine forest. In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps. Proceedings of the 1st fire behavior and fuels conference: fuels management - How to measure success. 2006 March 28-30; Portland, OR; Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 451-464.
Topic(s): Fire History, Severity, Frequency, Fuel Treatments & Prescriptions
Ecosystem(s): Subalpine wet spruce-fir forest, Subalpine dry spruce-fir forest
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
NRFSN number: 10964
FRAMES RCS number: 2444
Record updated: Jun 29, 2016