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Recent trends in post-wildfire seeding in western US forests: costs and seed mixes

Posted date: August 08, 2011
Publication Year: 
2011
Authors: Peppin, Donna L.; Fule, Peter Z.; Sieg, Carolyn H.; Beyers, Jan L.; Hunter, Molly E.; Robichaud, Pete R.
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: International Journal of Wildland Fire. 20(5): 702-708

Abstract

Broadcast seeding is one of the most commonly used post-fire rehabilitation treatments to establish ground cover for erosion control and mitigation of non-native plant species invasions. Little quantitative information is available on overall trends of post-fire seeding expenditures and seed mixes used over time in forested ecosystems in the western USA. We reviewed scientific articles, government publications and unpublished documents as well as USDA Forest Service Burned Area Reports to determine trends in post-fire seeding in forested ecosystems over time. Of 1164 USDA Forest Service Burned Area Reports, 380 contained information on seeding treatments conducted in forested ecosystems. A review of 40 papers and 67 Burned Area Reports reporting species seeded between 1970 and 2007 revealed a trend of increasing use of native species, annual cereal grains and sterile-grass hybrids, with natives dominating seed mixes. According to 380 Burned Area Reports with data on costs and area seeded, total post-fire seeding expenditures have increased substantially, averaging US$3.3 million per year spent on post-fire emergency seeding treatments in forested ecosystems that involved the Forest Service during the period 2000 to 2007 – an increase of 192% compared with the average spent during the previous 30 years. The percentage of the total burned area seeded averaged 21% in the 1970s, compared with only 4% between 2000 and 2007.

Citation

Peppin, Donna L.; Fule, Peter Z.; Sieg, Carolyn Hull; Beyers, Jan L.; Hunter, Molly E.; Robichaud, Peter R. 2011. Recent trends in post-wildfire seeding in western US forests: costs and seed mixes. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 20(5): 702-708.