USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
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.

Research Topics Fire Science

Blacks Mountain Research:
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Blacks Mountain Ecological Research

Pre-treatment and post-treatment in a high diversity unit at Blacks Mountain Experimental Forest.

At Blacks Mountain Experimental Forest in northeastern California, an interdisciplinary team of scientists has initiated a long-term study to quantify the effects of selected resource management activities on many components and processes of eastside pine forest ecosystems. A split-plot, factorial randomized block design, utilizing twelve 100-ha study plots, provides for 3 replications of 2 levels of each of 3 treatment factors:

  1. forest structural diversity--high (emphasizing old-growth attributes) versus low;
  2. grazing--continuation of grazing versus exclusion of livestock; and
  3. fire--reintroduction versus continued exclusion.

Hypotheses center on how these factors affect biodiversity as measured by abundance, patterning, and genetic characteristics of fauna and flora; resiliency of pine forests, associated fauna, and grazing values to disturbance from fire and insects; and carbon accumulation, partitioning and turnover rates. Ecological succession and changes in biodiversity will be monitored in adjacent Research Natural Areas. Response variables address a wide range of questions related to ecosystem structure and function, and to date fall generally within the disciplines of entomology, fire ecology, forest genetics, geography, mensuration, microbiology, plant ecology, plant pathology, plant physiology, silviculture, soil science, statistics, and wildlife biology. Spatiotemporal analyses of data at various scales, along with exploration of cross-disciplinary relationships, are enabled and encouraged by large plot sizes, spatial referencing of all data to a 100-m grid, availability of high-resolution digital orthophotos of the study area, and incorporation of all data into a GIS-based corporate data base. The study design facilitates the integration of additional research. The Redding Silviculture Lab provides coordination and administrative support for this unique interdisciplinary effort which involves three other PSW research work units, Rocky Mountain Research Station, National Forest System, and several universities.