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Evaluation of a post-fire tree mortality model for western USA conifers

Author(s): Sharon M. Hood, Charles W. McHugh, Kevin C. Ryan, Elizabeth D. Reinhardt, Sheri L. Smith
Year Published: 2007

Accurately predicting fire-caused mortality is essential to developing prescribed fire burn plans and post-fire salvage marking guidelines. The mortality model included in the commonly used USA fire behaviour and effects models, the First Order Fire Effects Model (FOFEM), BehavePlus, and the Fire and Fuels Extension to the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FFE-FVS), has not been tested with independently collected post-fire tree mortality data. The model predicts mortality for a wide range of conifer species based on crown scorch and species-specific bark thickness. We evaluated the mortality model on 13 western USA conifers: subalpine fir, red fir, white fir, Douglas-fir, incense cedar, western larch, western hemlock, Engelmann spruce, whitebark pine, lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, and sugar pine. Predicted stand-level mortality was within +/-20% of observed mortality for all species except incense cedar, western larch, red fir, and western hemlock. Individual tree mortality prediction was most accurate for subalpine fir, incense cedar, ponderosa pine, and Jeffrey pine. Evaluation of the model provides managers with an accuracy assessment for estimating the probability of mortality for the majority of western USA conifers when using the mortality model to make land management decisions.

Citation: Hood, Sharon M.; McHugh, Charles W.; Ryan, Kevin C.; Reinhardt, Elizabeth; Smith, Sheri L. 2007. Evaluation of a post-fire tree mortality model for western USA conifers. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 16(6): 679-689.
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Ecological - Second Order, Vegetation
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: 8364
FRAMES RCS number: 7328
Record updated: Oct 3, 2019