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Effects of fuel treatments on carbon-disturbance relationships in forests of the northern Rocky Mountains

Posted date: May 06, 2010
Publication Year: 
2010
Authors: Reinhardt, Elizabeth; Holsinger, Lisa M.
Publication Series: 
Miscellaneous Publication
Source: Forest Ecology and Management. 259: 1427-1435.

Abstract

Fuel treatments alter conditions in forested stands at the time of the treatment and subsequently. Fuel treatments reduce on-site carbon and also change the fire potential and expected outcome of future wildfires, including their carbon emissions. We simulated effects of fuel treatments on 140 stands representing seven major habitat type groups of the northern Rocky Mountains using the Fire and Fuels Extension to the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FFE-FVS). Changes in forest carbon due tomechanical fuel treatment (thinning from below to reduce ladder fuels) and prescribed fire were explored, as well as changes in expected fire behavior and effects of subsequent wildfire. Results indicated that fuel treatments decreased fire severity and crown fire occurrence and reduced subsequent wildfire emissions, but did not increase post-wildfire carbon stored on-site. Conversely, untreated stands had greater wildfire emissions but stored more carbon.

Citation

Reinhardt, Elizabeth; Holsinger, Lisa. 2010. Effects of fuel treatments on carbon-disturbance relationships in forests of the northern Rocky Mountains. Forest Ecology and Management. 259: 1427-1435.