USDA Forest Service

Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team


Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team
Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory

400 N 34th Street, Suite 201
Seattle, WA 98103

(206) 732-7800

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FERA Research Update August 2011

This FERA Research Update is intended to provide the fire management and fire science communities with information about current research conducted by the Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team (FERA).

To subscribe, visit or contact Ellen Eberhardt at (541)750-7481,

arrowInvestigating Fuel Treatment Efficacy on Arizona’s Wallow Fire

This month, FERA’s Morris Johnson toured burned areas of Arizona’s largest recorded wildfire, the Wallow Fire, on Apache–Sitgreaves National Forests. He visited several fuel treatments areas that were burned over during the wildfire, and plans to initiate a research project to evaluate the effectiveness of those fuel treatment. He is working closely with silviculturist Jim Pitts and assistant fire management officer Russell Bigelow on the Springerville Ranger District.

Morris studies the effectiveness of fuel treatments in dry Western forests and is investigating this rare opportunity to evaluate fuel treatment efficacy. The Wallow Fire consumed 817 square miles (522,900) across eastern Arizona and 24 square miles (15,000 acres) in western New Mexico.

North Cascadia Workshop on Climate Change, Fish, and Fish Habitat

After completing the education phase of the project, the North Cascadia Adaptation Partnership shifted focus to vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning. The first workshop on vulnerability assessment and adaptation, which focused on climate change effects on fisheries, was held in Seattle, WA on July 27-28. Thirty stakeholders spent the first day sharing goals and objectives for fish management in each forest or park, considering comments by scientific experts in various areas of fish management, and then collaborating to identify key aspects of climate change in relation to fish management. The second day focused on identifying adaptation strategies and tactics to reduce the vulnerability of fish to climate change effects that change stream flow, increase stream temperatures, and increased sedimentation.


arrowForest Regeneration and Biomass Production after Slash and Burn in a Seasonally Dry Forest in the Southern Brazilian Amazon

In an effort to project biomass accumulation in dry Brazilian forests after slash-and-burn activities, fire researchers returned to a site studied 7 years ago to remeasure biomass. Results indicate that the time needed for this forest to return to prefire aboveground biomass ranged from 20 to 30 years. Considering these results, the maintenance of regenerating secondary forests in the Amazon would be a significant contribution to understanding carbon sinks, restoration of burnt areas, soil and watershed protection, minimizing biodiversity losses, and perhaps mitigating climatic change effects in the region.

This paper, in the journal Forest Ecology and Management, was written by FERA's Dr. Ernesto Alvarado and his fire research coauthors Marcus d'Oliveira, Jose Carlos Santos, and Joao Carvalho, Jr. The FERA team and Brazilian researchers continue to maintain a long-standing partnership conducting fire and carbon research.


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Forest Service Issues Press Release on Simulations of Fuel Treatment Effectiveness
On August 1, on the heels of large forest fires in the American Southwest, the Forest Service featured FERA’s Morris Johnson and his work on the effectiveness of fuel treatments.

“In the largest ever study of fuel treatment effectiveness, U.S. Forest Service researchers have found that intense thinning treatments that leave between 50 and 100 trees per acre are the most effective in reducing the probability of crown fires in the dry forests of the western United States. The study, the results of which are published in a recent issue of the Canadian Journal of Forest Research, provides a scientific basis for establishing quantitative guidelines for reducing stand densities and surface fuels. The total number of optimal trees per acre on any given forest will depend on species, terrain and other factors.”


U.S. Forest Service - PNW- FERA
Last Modified: Tuesday, 25 February 2014 at 13:04:07 CST

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