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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United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

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Icon of a magnifying glassButte Falls Blowdown Study

Photo of trees blown downWe will evaluate the effects of blowdown of varied severity, salvage logging, and subsequent fuel treatments (lop and scatter, piling, and prescribed burning) on fuel profiles, fire hazard, insect infestation, and regeneration in the Butte Falls Resource Area of the Medford District of the BLM in southwestern Oregon. We will use previously established research plots to estimate pre-blowdown fuel loads and fire hazard. Sampling of these and other plots after blowdown, after salvage logging, and again after slash treatments will allow us to determine effects of blowdown and subsequent logging and fuel treatments on fuel loads and fire hazard. Insect infestation, tree mortality, and regeneration will be monitored over time to determine the effects of post-blowdown management activities on forest stand recovery. Specific project objectives are to:

  1. Compare fuel profiles and fire hazard before and after blowdown in previously-measured plots.
  2. Compare fuel profiles and fire hazard among areas with:
    a. different blowdown severity
    b. salvage and no salvage
    c. different post-salvage fuel treatments
  3. Determine the effects of each blowdown severity, salvage, and fuel treatment combination on insect infestation levels and tree mortality over time.
  4. Determine the effects of each blowdown severity,

We hypothesize that there will be substantial increases in both fine and coarse woody fuels with blowdown, and that these fuel levels will increase with increasing blowdown severity. We expect that salvage logging will decrease coarse woody fuels but increase fine fuel levels and fire hazard. In regards to fuel treatments, we hypothesize that prescribed burning will result in the highest reduction in fuels and fire hazard, while the lop and scatter treatment will result in the lowest reduction of fuels and fire hazard. We expect insect infestation will be highest in areas with heavy blowdown and no subsequent salvage and lowest in areas with salvage and fuel treatments. Finally, we expect tree regeneration in the short term (3 years post-blowdown) to be highest in areas with light blowdown (and no fuel treatment) and lowest in areas with blowdown, salvage, and fuel treatments.

Updates

Fieldwork Begins on the Butte Falls Blowdown Study (May 2009) -- Fieldwork began this month on the southern Oregon Butte Falls Blowdown site, in the Medford District of the Oregon Bureau of Land Management. This is the initial phase of a multiyear study to evaluate change in fire hazard among the treatment options of leaving blowdown as it fell, salvage logging with lop and scatter, and salvage logging with pile and burn. FERA’s Morris Johnson and Jessica Halofsky are collaborating on this study.

Expected Completion Date: January 2011


Lead: Morris Johnson

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