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Ponderosa pine restoration at Lick Creek

January, 2015

See: A Century of Change in a Ponderosa Pine Forest for more information about the Historical Photopoints in the Lick Creek Drainage.

The Lick Creek Demonstration/Research Forest (Lick Creek) on the Darby Ranger District of the Bitterroot National Forest, MT provides a unique opportunity to assess 25-year-effects of burning and cutting restoration treatments. In 1991, a cooperative venture among the Bitterroot National Forest, University of Montana, and Forest Service Intermountain Research Station (now Rocky Mountain Research Station) initiated a new research experiment with seven prescribed burning and cutting treatment variants to test restoration alternatives in restoring the site’s ponderosa pine vegetation community and reduce fuel loads to historically-appropriate levels. Silvicultural treatments were implemented in 1992, followed by prescribed burning in 1993 and 1994, under a fully replicated experimental design involving randomization of treated units and a permanent, systematic plot sampling network.

For more information, please visit the full project page at

Photo documentation of stand changes
Photo documentation of stand changes



Products from on-going JFSP study:

Clyatt, Kate A., "Long-Term Impacts of Fuel Treatments on Tree Growth and Aboveground Biomass Accumulation in Ponderosa Pine Forests of the Northern Rocky Mountains" (2016). Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers. Paper 10712. 

Hood, S.M, C. Keyes, A. Sala, D. Lutes, K. Clyatt, K. Jenkins. 2015. Lick Creek Demonstration-Research Forest: 25-year fire and cutting effects on vegetation and fuels. Poster presentation at Association for Fire Ecology 6th International Fire Ecology and Management Congress. San Antonio, TX.

Jenkins, K., C. Keyes, S. Hood. 2015. Effectiveness and Longevity of Ponderosa Pine Fuels Reduction Treatments at Lick Creek Demonstration/Research Forest, Montana. Poster presentation at Society of American Foresters National Convention. Baton Rouge, LA.

K. Clyatt, C. Keyes, D. Page-Dumroese, S. Hood. 2015. Long-term Impacts of Fuel Treatments on Productivity and Aboveground Biomass in Ponderosa Pine Forests of the Intermountain West. Poster presentation at Society of American Foresters National Convention. Baton Rouge, LA.

Publications from original research study:

Arno, S.; M. Harrington; C. Fiedler; C. Carlson. 1995. Restoring fire-dependent ponderosa pine forests in western Montana. Resoration and Management Notes 13:32-36.

Arno, S.; C. Fiedler. 2005. Mimicking nature's fire: restoring fire-prone forests in the West. Island Press.

Peters, G.; A. Sala. 2008. Reproductive output of ponderosa pine in response to thinning and prescribed burning in western Montana. Can. J. For.Res. 38:844-850.

Sala, A.; G. Peters; L. McIntyre; M.Harrington. 2005. Physiological responses of ponderosa pine in western Montana to thinning, prescribed fire and burning season. Tree Physiology 25:339-348.

Project Contact: 

Principal Investigators:
Anna Sala - University of Montana
Chistopher Keyes - University of Montana

Research Staff: