Fuels Inventory & Monitoring
Invasive species and woodland encroachment have caused extensive changes in the fire regimes of sagebrush steppe over the past 150 years. Land managers and resource specialists of the Great Basin are increasingly required to implement vegetation treatments to maintain habitat, reduce fire risk and restore landscapes to a more desirable state. Often it is difficult to measure treatment effectiveness because gathering pre- and post-treatment data is time-consuming and costly. In two years of post-treatment sampling across six Great Basin states, researchers from the Sagebrush Steppe Treatment and Evaluation Project (SageSTEP) measured the vegetation response to prescribed fire, tree mastication and cutting, shrub mowing, and herbicide application. Treated plots were compared to untreated control plots. This Guide for Quantifying Post-treatment Fuels in the Sagebrush Steppe and Juniper Woodlands of the Great Basin assimilates the SageSTEP post-treatment vegetation and fuels data into an assessment tool that will help users better estimate post-treatment percent cover, stem density and fuel loadings. Designed similarly to the Natural Fuels Photo Series, produced by USDA Forest Service Fire and Environmental Research Applications (FERA) team, this Guide provides the necessary landscape-level inputs required by fire behavior and fire effects models and may also be used when building custom fuelbeds. Through the use of photographs and tables with the range of values for each vegetation type, users should be able to quickly appraise sites by fuel stratum. When used in conjunction with the pre-treatment Guide for Quantifying Fuels in the Sagebrush Steppe and Juniper Woodlands of the Great Basin (Stebleton and Bunting 2009), this post-treatment Guide has the capability to aid users as they predict vegetation and fuel response to the various treatment applications, assess target conditions, set management objectives for restoration projects, choose treatments to meet objectives and determine treatment effectiveness.