G. Allen Rasmussen, Robin J. Tausch, Stephen C. Bunting
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Fuel Treatments & Effects
Prescribed Fire-use treatments
Management Approaches
Juniper woodland, Riparian woodland/shrubland

NRFSN number: 12109
FRAMES RCS number: 13685
Record updated: June 27, 2018

As pinyon-juniper have increased their dominance throughout the Great Basin, other perennial plants have declined in abundance. Riparian areas traditionally have the greatest biodiversity found in the region. The increase of pinyon-juniper can generally be attributed to a change in the disturbance regime. To increase the plant diversity found in the riparian areas pinyon-juniper plants must be removed, but traditional methods, such as individual tree cutting, chaining, or herbicides, are not practical or acceptable in many cases. Fire has generally not been thought of as a viable alternative. A helitorch, with a fan nozzle, could be used to follow the riparian corridor and burn out pinyon-juniper trees when leaf moisture is lowest and weather conditions would restrict fire spread to just those trees where the fuel has been placed. Burned areas could be used to break up fuel continuity associated with mature pinyon-juniper communities. This would allow land managers to work with small areas to (1) break up fuel bed structure, (2) reestablish desired plants in both riparian and upland areas, and (3) enhance and restore plant diversity found in the Great Basin and Intermountain West.


Rasmussen, G. Allen; Tausch, Robin; Bunting, Steve A. 1999. Use of the helitorch to enhance diversity on riparian corridors in mature pinyon-juniper communities: a conceptual approach. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Stevens, Richard, comps. Proceedings: ecology and management of pinyon-juniper communities within the Interior West; 1997 September 15-18; Provo, UT. Proceedings RMRS-P-9. Ogden, UT: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 408-409.

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