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General Technical Report
Title: An ecosystem management strategy for Sierran mixed-conifer forests
Author: North, Malcolm; Stine, Peter; O'Hara, Kevin; Zielinski, William; Stephens, Scott
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-220 (Second printing, with addendum). Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 49 p
Station ID: GTR-PSW-220
Description: Current Sierra Nevada forest management is often focused on strategically reducing fuels without an explicit strategy for ecological restoration across the landscape matrix. Summarizing recent scientific literature, we suggest managers produce different stand structures and densities across the landscape using topographic variables (i.e., slope shape, aspect, and slope position) as a guide for varying treatments. Local cool or moist areas, where historically fire would have burned less frequently or at lower severity, would have higher density and canopy cover, providing habitat for sensitive species. In contrast upper, southern-aspect slopes would have low densities of large fire-resistant trees. For thinning, marking rules would be based on crown strata or age cohorts and species, rather than uniform diameter limits. Collectively, our management recommendations emphasize the ecological role of fire, changing climate conditions, sensitive wildlife habitat, and the importance of forest structure heterogeneity.
Keywords: Climate change, ecosystem restoration, forest heterogeneity, forest resilience, topographic variability, wildfire
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North, Malcolm; Stine, Peter; O'Hara, Kevin; Zielinski, William; Stephens, Scott 2009. An ecosystem management strategy for Sierran mixed-conifer forests. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-220. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 49 p.