|Table of Contents
Back | Next | Cover Page
Forests Initiative and Healthy Forests Restoration Act
Interim Field Guide
Section 102(f) governs vegetation treatments in covered projects outside of old growth, and where the resource management plan does not contain old-growth management direction. The section requires such treatments to be carried out in a manner that:
The HFRA also states that the large-tree retention requirements of Section 102(f) must not prevent agencies from reducing wildland fire risk to communities, municipal water supplies, and at-risk Federal land.
In areas where large-tree retention requirements apply, resource managers should design projects that retain large trees to the extent possible, while they also:
Specific vegetation treatment methods to be applied within these areas should be guided by the key objectives described above.
Silviculture prescriptions should be designed for forest vegetation treatments that integrate fuel and other resource objectives to meet the resource management plan direction. The silviculture prescription should prescribe for retention of large, fire-resilient trees (generally intolerant tree species adapted to fire processes) and retain large trees to the degree this practice is consistent with the objective of maintaining or restoring fire-resilient stands. However, large trees of selected species that are not adapted to fire processes may need to be removed to promote greater fire resiliency. Similarly, the removal of small- to mid-sized trees will generally be needed to reduce fuel ladders within the treatment area, curtailing uncharacteristically severe wildland fire effects and enabling use of prescribed fire. Trees in a variety of size classes may need to be removed in these areas to reduce wildland fire risk to communities, municipal water supplies, and at-risk Federal land. These practices are allowed under the HFRA.
In determining characteristic large-tree sizes appropriate for the forest type, resource managers may explore using the ecological definition of old growth developed for the forest type as one means of identifying diameter ranges for the tree species covered by the definition. USDA Forest Service ecological definitions for forest types are listed in the References section.
Resource managers should consider using growth models and other simulation tools when developing treatment strategies for areas where large-tree retention provisions apply. Models, such as the Forest Vegetation Simulator coupled with the Fire and Fuels Extension (see References, Old-Growth and Large-Tree Retention, Project-Level Guidance), allow treatment scenarios to be analyzed through time to determine their effects on fire behavior at the stand level and to help predict fire effects. Through using this kind of model, practitioners can determine the optimal treatment or set of treatments within a particular forest type that will help achieve the objective of retaining large trees, to the extent that is consistent with the objective of promoting fire-resilient stands.
|Print this pub|