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Managing Forest Structure and Fire Hazard—A Tool for Planners

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Abstract:

Fire planners and other resource managers need to examine a range of potential fuel and vegetation treatments to select options that will lead to desired outcomes for fire hazard and natural resource conditions. A new approach to this issue integrates concepts and tools from silviculture and fuel science to quantify outcomes for a large number of treatment options in dry forest stands in the western United States. Five silvicultural options (thinning from below to 50 trees per acre [tpa]; 100, 200, and 300 tpa; or no thinning) are considered in combination with three surface fuel treatments (pile and burn, prescribed fire, or no treatment), resulting in a range of alternative treatments for each representative stand. The Fire and Fuels Extension of the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FFE-FVS) was used to calculate (1) immediate effects of treatments on surface fuels, fire hazard, potential fire behavior, and forest structure (including visualizations); and (2) a 50-year time series of treatment effects at 10-year increments. These fuel treatment scenarios can be used as a starting point for examining alternatives for National Environmental Policy Act documents and other applications that require scientifically based information to quantify the effects of modifying forest structure and surface fuels. Forest managers also can develop customized treatments for specific locations and resource objectives. Scenarios and output can be used to inform ecological, economic, and sociological evaluations of the effects of fuel and vegetation treatments.

Keywords: Forest Vegetation Simulator; fire management; forest thinning; fuel treatment; silviculture

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-03-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
    Other SAF Publications
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