Skip to content

WWETAC Focus Area: Wildfire

McCarley T.R., Kolden C.A., Vaillant N.M,. Hudak A.T., Smith A.M.S., Kreitler J. 2017. Landscape-scale quantification of fire-induced change in canopy cover following mountain pine beetle outbreak and timber harvest. Forest Ecology and Management, 391:164-175. TreeSearch Link.

Remotely sensed LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data was collected before and after the 2012 Pole Creek Fire in central Oregon and used to examine the effects of pre-fire mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) damage and timber harvest on burn severity (as measured by canopy loss). Burn severity was higher in areas with pre-fire mountain pine beetle damage than areas subject to fire only and the intensity of canopy loss was directly related to the intensity of beetle damage. Burn severity was lower in areas harvested for timber than in areas subject to fire only; treatments older than 30 years generally experienced greater burn severity. These results indicate that fire effects on canopy cover can vary based on pre-fire agents of forest change.

Distribution of change in the percentage of canopy cover for areas disturbed by the 2012 Pole Creek Fire (Fire), mountain pine beetle followed by the fire (MPB/Fire), timber harvest and mountain pine beetle followed by fire (HARV/MPB/Fire), and harvest and fire categorized by age in decades before the fire. Solid lines represent the medians, boxes above show the interquartile range, whiskers extend to 1.5 times the interquartile range, and points are outliers. From McCarley et al. 2017. Forest Ecology and Management.