Fire-adapted forests; Hazard reduction; Ecosystem restoration; Treatment demonstration; Interdisciplinary research; National replication
Hazard Reduction/Ecosystem Restoration Study: Home
The national Joint Fire Sciences Program (JFSP) was created in 1998 to promote research aimed at reducing hazard and mitigating wildfire impacts. In 2000, the JFSP funded a five-year nationwide study of hazard reduction treatments called the Fire/Fire Surrogates (FFS) Project. The objectives of this interdisciplinary project are to evaluate the effects of prescribed burning and/or thinning (i.e., "fire/fire surrogate" treatments) on wildfire hazard reduction, tree growth and mortality, timber product recovery, native and exotic plants, soil chemical and biophysical properties, small mammal and bird populations, and bark beetle and root disease dynamics.

The University of Montana's Lubrecht Experimental Forest was selected as one of 13 sites in the FFS national network. The study employs a randomized block design, with three blocks and four treatments: cut-only (cut to 50 ft2/acre, which removed about half of the existing trees), burn-only (prescribed underburn in the spring), cut-burn (cut to 50 ft2/acre and prescribed underburn in the spring), and control (no cutting or burning). These treatments represent primary options managers are considering, and correspond to four common hypotheses for hazard reduction /ecosystem restoration:

Hypothesis 1: Forest ecosystems are best conserved by restoring ecosystem structure, which leads to the cut-only treatment.

Hypothesis 2: Forest ecosystems are best conserved by restoring ecosystem processes, which leads to the burn-only treatment.

Hypothesis 3: Restoration of sustainable forest ecosystems requires both process and structural restoration, which leads to the cut-burn treatment.

Hypothesis 4: Forest ecosystems are best conserved by passive management i.e., "let nature take its course," which leads to the control or "no treatment."

Knowledge gained from this long-term study is being used in conjunction with results from other network sites to develop local, regional, and national guidelines to help managers prioritize areas for treatment, design effective experiments, and predict treatment outcomes. The FFS study at Lubrecht Experimental Forest is in its fifth year, and early results have been summarized in theses, field trips, and at professional meetings (Products page). For more information, contact Carl Fiedler at the UM College of Forestry and Conservation: (406) 243-5602; or

Lubrecht FFS Home
For information on this study contact Carl Fiedler.

For comments on this website contact Kerry Metlen.