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Effects of fuel treatments on carbon-disturbance relationships in forests of the Northern Rocky Mountains

Author(s): Elizabeth D. Reinhardt, Lisa M. Holsinger
Year Published: 2010

Fuel treatments alter conditions in forested stands at the time of the treatment and subsequently. Fuel treatments reduce on-site carbon and also change the fire potential and expected outcome of future wildfires, including their carbon emissions. We simulated effects of fuel treatments on 140 stands representing seven major habitat type groups of the northern Rocky Mountains using the Fire and Fuels Extension to the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FFE-FVS). Changes in forest carbon due to mechanical fuel treatment (thinning from below to reduce ladder fuels) and prescribed fire were explored, as well as changes in expected fire behavior and effects of subsequent wildfire. Results indicated that fuel treatments decreased fire severity and crown fire occurrence and reduced subsequent wildfire emissions, but did not increase post-wildfire carbon stored on-site. Conversely, untreated stands had greater wildfire emissions but stored more carbon.

Citation: Reinhardt, Elizabeth; Holsinger, Lisa. 2010. Effects of fuel treatments on carbon-disturbance relationships in forests of the Nrthern Rocky Mountains. Forest Ecology and Management.259(8): 1427-1435.
Topic(s): Fire & Climate, Carbon Sequestration, Fuels, Fuel Treatments & Effects, Mechanical treatments, Prescribed Fire-use treatments
Ecosystem(s): Subalpine wet spruce-fir forest, Subalpine dry spruce-fir forest, Montane wet mixed-conifer forest, Montane dry mixed-conifer forest, Ponderosa pine woodland/savanna
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 8188
FRAMES RCS number: 8278
Record updated: Jul 27, 2018