A primary objective of the FFS study is to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative fire/fire surrogate treatments (thinning, prescribed burning, thinning and burning) for reducing wildfire hazard. However, these treatments can also significantly affect stand structure, tree growth and mortality, and conifer regeneration. Undergrowth vegetation can be significantly impacted as well, with changes in species composition, productivity, and distribution. These changes have implications for invasive species encroachment, forage and browse production, and plant community complexity. Hence, a secondary objective of this study is to assess short- and long-term treatment effects on the structure, composition, and change of the vegetation community.
~Tree height and diameter
~Tree mortality, vigor, and damage
~Undergrowth species composition and abundance (cover and frequency)
~Relationship of tree growth and mortality to alternative hazard reduction treatments
~Effect of hazard reduction treatments on future stand composition and growth
~Undergrowth response to alternative hazard reduction/ecosystem restoration treatments
~Effects of fuel reduction treatments on distribution and coverage of exotic undergrowth species in pine/fir forests
Undergrowth species richness data have been utilized by the soils discipline as part of a heterogeneity study (reference in Products). In addition, vegetation personnel collaborated with scientists from the Missoula Fire Lab in the collection of scorch and char data to be incorporated into a separate fire effects study. Also in conjunction with the Missoula Fire Lab, overstory data were provided for a study to develop indirect methods for measuring canopy fuels.
~202 species have been identified in the research area: 5 trees, 23 shrubs, 136 forbs, and 38 graminoids.
~Tree species are: Pinus ponderosa, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Larix occidentalis, Pinus contorta, and Populus tremuloides.
~The five most abundant shrubs are: Symphoricarpos albus, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Berberis repens, Spiraea betulifolia, and Amelanchier alnifolia.
~The five most abundant forbs are: Achillea millefolium, Antennaria spp., Arnica spp., Collinsia parviflora, and Fragaria virginiana.
~The five most abundant graminoids are: Calamagrostis rubescens, Carex geyeri, Carex concinnoides, Carex rossii, and Festuca idahoensis.
~If you would like to see some examples of our vegetation, or the veg crew in action, check out our vegetation pictures.
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