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Role of Fire and Fuels in Ecological Restoration

Fuel loads are important drivers of fire behavior, and fire is an important natural process that can also be used as a tool for ecological restoration purposes. Land managers and fire experts attempt to track and manipulate fuel loads in order to assess fire risk, control fire behavior, and restore ecosystems. Thus, understanding the relationships between fire, vegetation dynamics, and fuel loads is critical to the successful management and restoration of many ecosystems.

In recently completed research in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station, we have shown how attempts to reduce fuel loads using salvage logging after a major disturbance event in a northern forest landscape can lead to variable influences on future fire severity and carbon pools. We are also engaged in a new project with the Bureau of Land Management to look at the role of fire, non-native annual species, and restoration treatments in influencing fuel loads in sagebrush communities in the Great Basin. This project will use a combination of experimental fuels reduction and restoration treatments, landscape-scale sampling fuel loads, and remotely sensed imagery to develop spatially explicit models of dynamic fuel loads across successional and invasion gradients.

Research Team

Fire Ecology in Dynamic Ecosystems - Team Page

Primary Investigator

Shinneman, Douglas J. - View Profile

Related Publications

Campbell, J.L., Shinneman, D.J., 2017, Potential influence of wildfire in modulating climate-induced forest redistribution in a central Rocky Mountain landscape: Ecological Processes, v. 6, no. 1, p. 1-17,[Details]

Brabec, M.A., Germino, M.J., Shinneman, D.J., Pilliod, D.S., McIlroy, S.K., Arkle, R.S., 2015, Challenges of establishing big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) in rangeland restoration- Effects of herbicide, mowing, whole-community seeding, and sagebrush seed sources: Rangeland Ecology and Management, v. 68, no. 5, p. 432-435,[Details]

Brooks, M.L., Matchett, J.R., Shinneman, D.J., Coates, P.S., 2015, Fire patterns within the range of greater sage-grouse, 1984-2013- implications for conservation and management: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1167, p. 66,[Details]

Shinneman, D.J., Pilliod, D.S., Arkle, R.S., Glenn, N.F., 2015, Quantifying and predicting fuels and the effects of reduction treatments along successional and invasion gradients in sagebrush habitats: Joint Fire Science Program, p. 1-44. [Details]

Bradford, J.B., Fraver, S., Milo, A.M., D'Amato, A.W., Shinneman, D.J., 2012, Effects of multiple interacting disturbances and salvage logging on forest carbon stocks: Forest Ecology and Management, v. 267, p. 209-214. [Details]

Fraver, S., Jain, T.B., Bradford, J.B., D'Amato, A.W., Kastendick, D., Palik, B.J., Shinneman, D.J., Stanovick, J., 2011, The efficacy of salvage logging in reducing subsequent fire severity in conifer-dominated forests of Minnesota, USA: Ecological Applications, v. 21, no. 6, p. 1895-1901. [Details]

Shinneman, D.J., Baker, W.L., 2009, Environmental and climatic variables as potential drivers of post-fire cover of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) in seeded and unseeded semiarid ecosystems: International Journal of Wildland Fire, v. 18, p. 191-202. [Details]

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