USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station


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

(510) 559-6300

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Management options for reducing wildlife risk and maximizing carbon storage under future climate changes, ignition patterns, and forest treatments

Proposal [pdf]

Lead Researchers:

Robert M. Scheller, Environmental Sciences and Management Dept., Portland State University; Jian Yang and Peter J. Weisberg, University of Nevada-Reno; Alison Stanton, BMP Ecosciences


Forested landscapes are subject to increasingly diverse and often competing demands from society. In recent years this has come to include the net sequestration of carbon (C) from the atmosphere. Managing large forested landscape for the reduction of fire risk and atmospheric C regulation, in the context of changing climate regimes and altered disturbance regimes, presents new challenges and will require an integrated assessment that incorporates all of the critically relevant processes such as forest disturbance, management, succession, and the carbon cycle, including belowground C sequestration. Successful management will require information about the inherent trade-offs among multiple objectives and improved awareness of the opportunities for spatially optimizing management on the landscape. We propose to compare and evaluate long-term impacts of fire suppression, prescribed fire, wildfire, and fuel treatments on the long-term potential for Lake Tahoe forests to sequester carbon or otherwise contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in a global change context. We will explicitly assess the tradeoffs among management for C sequestration, prescribed fires, mechanical fuel treatments, and stochastically recurring large and severe wildland fires. Predicted changes in climate and ignition patterns will be simulated along with changing fire spread behavior in response to future meteorological conditions, vegetation dynamics, and fuel treatments to examine long-term effects on C emissions, forest structure, and forest composition. Our project will demonstrate an operational method for explicit consideration of greenhouse gases in landscape-level forest management.

Relation to Other SNPLMA Projects

The project will leverage existing datasets from SNPLMA science projects, including use of the long-term dataset from the Round 7 science project "Analysis of 15 years of data from California State Parks prescribed fire monitoring program." Additionally, the lead investigator has been in contact with Robert Coats, the principal investigator for the Round 8 SNPLMA science project, "The effects of climate change on Lake Tahoe, and implications for design of best management practices", to identify how this project can build upon that work to downscale global climate models for the Tahoe basin. This project seeks to downscale such projections to a finer resolution. This project may also consider results from the wind modeling proposed in the Round 10 science project, "Improving meteorological data and forecasts for prescribed fire burn day decisions for the Lake Tahoe Basin" to help evaluate future wildfire behavior.

Expected date of final products:

June 2012

Last Modified: Mar 28, 2013 02:52:07 PM