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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Biodiversity Response to Burn Intensity and Post-fire Restoration

Full title: Biodiversity response to burn intensity and post-fire restoration

Proposal

Lead Researchers: Patricia N. Manley, US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station; Dennis D. Murphy and T. Will Richardson, University of Nevada

Abstract

A high priority of forest management in the Lake Tahoe basin, and throughout the west, is to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire. Despite substantial emphasis and effort by agencies and homeowners to reduce the risk of wildfire, it is not possible to eliminate the possibility of their occurrence. Fire is a natural process in montane conifer forests, and both its presence and absence have significant ecological and social consequences. Wildfire changes many facets of forest ecosystems, including soil quality, plant composition and structure, and native species and communities. Biological diversity of native species has been shown to have significant consequences for ecosystem function and services, thus its conservation and post-fire restoration will greatly effect the restoration of forest ecosystems. Forest management and resulting fuel levels and forest structure have substantial influence on the characteristics and intensity of wildfire. Forest management, the intensity of wildfire, and post-fire restoration activities all have direct and indirect effects on habitat suitability and quality, which can be additive or ameliorative. Manley and colleagues are in a singular position to study the effects of the Angora fire and post-fire treatments on biological diversity. We have the two main ingredients necessary for a strong experimental design to address questions about effects: 1) we have pre-fire condition biological data from two other studies conducted before and continuously since before the fire; and 2) we began collecting biological data within the first year following the fire, so no data has been lost. In collaboration with California Tahoe Conservancy and US Forest Service/University of Montana, we designed and implemented a monitoring effort to evaluate birds and small mammals on sites subject to different fire intensity and post-fire treatments. This proposed study will enhance the existing effort to increase the sample size, improve the representation of various combinations of fire intensity and post-fire restoration treatments, include invertebrate sampling, and extend sampling to span a total of three years post fire. The results of the study will aid in the challenge retaining and restoring on-site biodiversity and determining how to manage future burned areas to enhance habitat and population recovery.

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

Schedule of milestones and deliverables
Milestone/Deliverables Start Date End Date Description
Submit quarterly progress reports Submit brief progress report to Tahoe Science Program coordinator by the 1st of July, October, January, and April.
Site selection Apr 1, 2009 May 1, 2009 Work with USFS/UMT researchers and existing data layers to select additional sites to meet target sample sizes
Data collection Jun 1, 2009 Sep 15, 2009 Collect all animal and habitat data as described in methods (vegetation data at grid sites collected by USFS/UMT during the same time period)
Data entry and analysis Oct 1, 2009 Dec 15, 2009 Enter animal and habitat data, identify invertebrates from 2008 and 2009, and conduct preliminary analysis of relationships between burn intensity, treatment, and biodiversity responses
Prepare interim report of findings Jan 15, 2010 Mar 15, 2010 Compile results in an agency report that partitions results as needed to be most useful to individual agencies.
Present findings to agencies and local scientific venues Mar 15, 2010 May 15, 2010 Offer to present progress and results to date to interested parties and local symposium opportunities
Data collection Jun 1, 2010 Sep 15, 2010 Collect all animal and habitat data as described in methods (vegetation data at grid sites collected by USFS/UMT during the same time period)
Data entry and analysis Oct 1, 2010 Dec 15, 2010 Enter animal and habitat data, identify invertebrates from 2010, and being final analysis of relationships between burn intensity, treatment, and biodiversity responses
Continue data analysis Jan 15, 2011 May 15, 2011 Conduct final analysis of relationships between burn intensity, treatment, and biodiversity responses
Present and discuss findings with agencies and to local scientific and interested public groups May 15, 2011 Jul 15, 2011 Offer to present research results to interested parties and local symposium opportunities
Last Modified: Mar 28, 2013 02:52:07 PM