USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station


Pacific Southwest Research Station
800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011

(510) 559-6300

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Modeling Management Influence on Wildfire Under Future Climatic Conditions

Researchers are using a process-based model and a range of climate-change scenarios to model tree and stand growth for the Tahoe basin. They will then use these growth rates to model the influence of structural treatments on fire risk and fire spread under different carbon dioxide scenarios. The results will determine which fuel treatments reduce the risk of catastrophic fire and best meet location-specific goals.

Full Title: Modeling the influence of management actions on fire risk and spread under future climatic conditions

Proposal [pdf]

Lead Researchers: Matthew Hurteau, Northern Arizona University; George Koch, Northern Arizona University


  1. Determine how forests of the Tahoe basin will respond to changing climatic conditions.
  2. Identify which set of management actions will maintain forest processes while minimizing risk of stand-replacing fire.

Sites and Modeling Steps (see diagram)

Project Design

Augment existing forest stand inventory data by randomly installing a total of 80 plots, including ten 28.2-m fixed-radius plots (0.25 ha), stratified across the eight coniferous forest community types that occur at or below the elevation of the red fir community type.

  1. Parameterize and validate a process-based forest growth model (3-PG) for basin-specific conditions.
  2. Use the validated process-based model to predict species-specific growth relationships under medium-high emissions, low emissions, and current climate conditions.
  3. Correct growth relationships within Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) for the three climate scenarios.
  4. Input corrected growth predictions into the spatially explicit landscape model, SIMPPLLE (Simulating Vegetation Patterns and Processes at Landscape Scales), to evaluate fire risk and spread under different management alternatives and climate scenarios.

Timeframe: July 2008 through December 2011 (3.5 years)

Expected date of final products: August 2011.
Progress Report available for download


  1. Reparameterized climate-scenario-specific version of Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS)
  2. Future tree-growth relationships and data necessary to conduct further simulations
  3. Series of workshops to inform basin managers regarding simulation results and to identify other possible management alternatives
  4. Two peer-reviewed publications and several presentations at regional and national meetings
Last Modified: Mar 28, 2013 02:52:07 PM