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Restoring fire in lodgepole pine forests of the Intermountain West

Author(s): Colin C. Hardy, Ward W. McCaughey
Year Published: 1997
Description:

We are developing new management treatments for regenerating and sustaining lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) forests through emulation of natural disturbance processes. Lodgepole pine is the principal forest cover on over 26 million hectares in western North America. While infrequent, stand replacing fires following mountain pine beetle outbreaks are common to the inland form (var. latifolia), more frequent nonlethal and mixed severity fires also significantly affected stand development and landscape patterns. This diversity of fire regimes resulted in spatially complex forests with a mosaic of one-and multi-aged stands. Our demonstration treatments are being tested on the Tenderfoot Creek Experimental Forest (TCEF) in central Montana, where other companion studies as well as extensive water quality and quantity studies are being performed. Our challenge is to design economical silvicultural and prescribed fire treatments which maintain spatial and biological diversity. Two paired sub-watersheds within TCEF will be used for treatment activities; two others will serve as untreated controls. Research will evaluate replicated two-aged silvicultural treatments with and without prescribed fire. A fifth treatment will be prescribed fire alone. Results of these research demonstration studies will be assessed for potential application to lodgepole pine forests on other areas, including the Bitterroot National Forest in western Montana.

Citation: Hardy, Colin C.; McCaughey, Ward W. 1997. Restoring fire in lodgepole pine forests of the intermountain west. In: Changing ecosystems: natural and human influences, Ecological Society of America annual meeting; 1997 August 10-14; Albuquerque, NM. In: Supplement to Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America; 78(4):15.
Topic(s): Fire History, Severity, Frequency, Restoration
Ecosystem(s): Subalpine dry spruce-fir forest, Montane wet mixed-conifer forest, Montane dry mixed-conifer forest
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 8347
FRAMES RCS number: 13258
Record updated: Jun 29, 2016