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Keyword: resilience

How do plant communities differ between fire refugia and firegenerated early‐seral vegetation?

Publications Posted on: October 02, 2020
Wildfires in dry forest ecosystems in western North America are producing fire effects that are more severe than historical estimates, raising concerns about the resilience of these landscapes to contemporary disturbances.

Looking Into the Past: How Reconstructing Historical Forest Conditions Can Help Future Restoration Efforts

Documents and Media Posted on: September 22, 2020
Scientists from the Rocky Mountain Research Station, Colorado Forest Restoration Institute, and Rocky Mountain Tree Ring Research reconstructed historical forest conditions in Front Range forests that had adapted to survive frequent fire prior to 1860. Document Type: Other Documents

Lick Creek: Lessons learned after 20+ years of fuel treatments in a ponderosa pine forest

Science Spotlights Posted on: September 08, 2020
Lick Creek is the longest running fuel treatment and restoration study of ponderosa pine forests in the northern U.S. Rocky Mountains. Through repeat photography and numerous published studies, we show how fuels and vegetation have changed over the 25 years since treatment and compare the effects of mechanical harvesting with and without prescribed burning.

Fire refugia and forest resilience

Science Spotlights Posted on: September 02, 2020
Fire refugia are places within high-severity burns that remain unburned or burn with low severity. They can be important for maintaining and regenerating fire-prone forested systems. We used satellite-derived imagery of fires to investigate where and when fire refugia are most likely to form and persist on a landscape. We then collected field data to better understand how fire refugia promote forest recovery and ecosystem resilience. 

Metrics and models for quantifying ecological resilience at landscape scales

Publications Posted on: August 13, 2020
An explicit link between the abiotic environment, the biotic components of ecosystems, and resilience to disturbance across multiple scales is needed to operationalize the concept of ecological resilience. To accomplish this, managers must be able to measure the ecological resilience of current conditions and project resilience under future scenarios of landscape change.

Is three a crowd? The effect of stand density reduction on drought response

Science Spotlights Posted on: July 13, 2020
Three drought-tolerant tree species – Scots pine, sessile oak, and ponderosa pine – differ somewhat in their response to drought after stand density reductions. In this study, all species grew more each year on average when stand density was low rather than at maximum levels. Lower stand density reduced the drought susceptibility of Scots pine and sessile oak. Ponderosa pine, however, showed greater resistance and resilience to drought under higher, rather than lower, stand densities. Measures that reduce competition between trees are likely to help Scots pine and sessile oak adapt to a potentially drier and warmer climate, but such measures may have muted results compared to the effects of ponderosa pine’s adaptations to historically severely water-stressed conditions.

Implications of reduced stand density on tree growth and drought susceptibility: A study of three species under varying climate

Publications Posted on: June 20, 2020
A higher frequency of increasingly severe droughts highlights the need for short-term measures to adapt existing forests to climate change. The maintenance of reduced stand densities has been proposed as a promising silvicultural tool for mitigating drought stress. However, the relationship between stand density and tree drought susceptibility remains poorly understood, especially across ecological gradients.

Managing for large wood and beaver dams in stream corridors

Publications Posted on: January 30, 2020
Large wood and beaver dams are fundamental components of forested stream ecosystems but can also create hazards. We present guidelines for identifying stream segments that maximize environmental benefits while minimizing hazards. We focus on lesser gradient stream segments, although wood can be ecologically beneficial anywhere in a river network.

Effects of drought on forests and rangelands in the United States: translating science into management responses

Publications Posted on: September 27, 2019
Most regions of the United States are projected to experience a higher frequency of severe droughts and longer dry periods as a result of a warming climate. Even if current drought regimes remain unchanged, higher temperatures will interact with drought to exacerbate moisture limitation and water stress.

Big trees, bark beetles, goshawks, and timber

Science Spotlights Posted on: August 21, 2019
Throughout the Rocky Mountains over the last century, large ponderosa pine trees provided lumber for growing cities and towns, along with fuel and timber for the mining and railroad industries. Most of these forests are now occupied by dense young and mid-aged forests highly susceptible to being killed by bark beetles and burned by wildfires. These conditions have been exacerbated by fire suppression and urban encroachment. As a result, knowledge is needed to inform management actions directed at restoring and conserving ponderosa pine forests. 

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