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Forest attributes and fuel loads of riparian vs. upland stands in mountain pine beetle infested watersheds, southern Rocky Mountains [Chapter 13]

Posted date: October 05, 2015
Publication Year: 
2015
Authors: Dwire, Kathleen A.; Bazan, Roberto A.; Hubbard, Robert M.
Publication Series: 
General Technical Report (GTR)
Source: In: Potter, Kevin M; Conkling, Barbara L., Eds. Forest Health Monitoring: National Status, Trends and Analysis 2013. General Technical Report SRS-207. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. p. 177-185.
Note: This article is part of a larger document.

Abstract

Extensive outbreaks of mountain pine beetle (MPB), spruce beetle (SB), and other insects are altering forest stand structure throughout the Western United States, and thereby increasing the natural heterogeneity of fuel distribution. Riparian forests frequently occur as narrow linear features in the landscape mosaic and can contribute to the spatial complexity of forest stands and fuel loads. These streamside forests are valued for providing aquatic and terrestrial habitat, serving as sources of in-stream and floodplain large wood, and maintaining streamside microclimates and stream water quality. Despite the ecological importance of riparian forests, few data exist on riparian stand attributes and fuel characteristics in watersheds affected by recent beetle outbreaks. This lack of knowledge, combined with administrative regulations for riparian management, present additional challenges to resource specialists planning fuel treatment projects in beetle-infested watersheds. To address this need, we measured stand characteristics and fuel loads in streamside and adjacent upland stands. Within selected watersheds on the Medicine Bow-Routt and Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forests (Colorado and Wyoming), we sampled 30 paired riparian and upland plots during the 2012 field season. Our objectives were to (1) quantify riparian forest characteristics, specifically species composition, structure, and extent of insect-caused mortality; (2) characterize riparian fuel profiles; and (3) compare riparian forest attributes and fuels with those of adjacent uplands. Here, we present preliminary results on basal area, stand structure, and woody surface fuels in riparian and upland stands.

Citation

Dwire, Kathleen A.; Bazan, Roberto A.; Hubbard, Robert. 2015. Forest attributes and fuel loads of riparian vs. upland stands in mountain pine beetle infested watersheds, southern Rocky Mountains [Chapter 13]. In: Potter, Kevin M; Conkling, Barbara L., Eds. Forest Health Monitoring: National Status, Trends and Analysis 2013. General Technical Report SRS-207. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. p. 177-185.