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Does seeding after severe forest fires in western USA mitigate negative impacts on soils and plant communities?

Author(s): Donna Peppin, Peter Z. Fule, Jan L. Beyers, Carolyn Hull Sieg, Molly E. Hunter
Year Published: 2011
Description:

Broadcast seeding is one of the most widely used post-wildfire emergency response treatments intended to reduce soil erosion, increase vegetative ground cover, and minimize establishment and spread of non-native plant species. However, seeding treatments can also have negative effects such as competition with recovering native plant communities and inadvertent introduction of invasive species. Despite ongoing debates over the efficacy of post-fire seeding and potential negative impacts on natural plant community recovery, seeding remains a widely used stabilization treatment in forested ecosystems throughout the western U.S. In 2000, Robichaud et al. reviewed the effectiveness and impacts of the entire suite of burned area rehabilitation treatments used on U.S. Forest Service land, including post-fire seeding. Beyers (2004) published a review specific to post-wildfire seeding, but a good part of the conclusions were drawn from studies occurring in chaparral. Since publication of Robichaud et al. (2000) and Beyers (2004), several developments have altered the context of post-fire seeding. These include: 1) increasing size and severity of wildfires across the western U.S., 2) increased research and quantitative monitoring on post-fire seeding and plant community interactions, 3) increased use, availability, and allocation of funds for native seed mixes, and 4) stronger policy direction for the use of locally-adapted and genetically-appropriate seed sources (seed sources adapted to local site conditions and genetically compatible with existing plant populations). With the last review occurring in 2004 there is a need to re-examine what is known about the effectiveness and ecological impacts of post-fire seeding specific to forested ecosystems across the western U.S.

Citation: Peppin, D. Fule, P., Beyers, J., Sieg, C., Hunter, M. 2011. Does seeding after severe forest fires in western USA mitigate negative impacts on soils and plant communities? CEE review 08-023 (SR60). Collaboration for Environmental Evidence.
Topic(s): Post-fire Management, Post-fire Rehabilitation, Erosion Control, Seeding
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Synthesis, Technical Report or White Paper
NRFSN number: 11501
FRAMES RCS number: 13489
Record updated: May 14, 2018