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Prescribed fire

Projects

Researchers and collaborators at the Rocky Mountain Research Station Albuquerque Lab have pursued several lines of research to better manage prairie dog colonies in the Southwest. The research team developed a novel approach to estimate density of prairie dogs, assessed mechanisms of prairie dog expansion, and explored the role of fleas, an important element of the plague lifecycle, in initiating and perpetuating plague outbreaks.
The Cascabel watershed study was initiated in 1999 by Rocky Mountain Research Station Scientists as part of the Southwestern Borderlands Ecosystem Management Project. The study is a collaborative, interdisciplinary project to determine the effects of cool season and warm season prescribed burning on an oak-savanna ecosystem common to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.
In the mid-2000's researchers reinstated research at Beaver Creek Experimental Watershed (BCEW) to collect data on climate, stream flow, vegetation, forest floor, and soil conditions. The Southwest Watershed Science Team and Northern Arizona University are exploring the effects of fuel treatments on stream flow, vegetation, forest floor, and soil conditions at the BCEW. The main goal of ongoing research is to provide land managers with information about the ecological effects of fuel treatments in the ponderosa pine forests and pinyon-juniper woodlands at a watershed scale.
We are integrating multiple datasets, statistical modeling tools, and simulation approaches to quantify habitat and predict population responses by woodpecker and other wildlife species of conservation concern to natural disturbance (wildfire, bark beetle outbreaks) and forest management activities to inform adaptive management of dry conifer forests.
The Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) provides scientific information for resource management, restoration, rehabilitation, and fire management. FEIS continues to improve its service to managers by providing new and updated products and a new user interface is currently under development.
Innovative quantitative approaches have been developed for evaluating wildfire and prescribed fire effects on wildlife communities in several western North American national forests.
Longleaf pine ecosystems are remarkably rich in plant species and represent the dominant upland forest type in several southeastern military bases. We are coupling a series of field experiments with data mining exercises to help managers monitor the impact of various activities on the understory plant community.
The Prescribed Fire Combustion and Atmospheric Dynamics Research Experiment (RxCADRE) is a collaborative effort in longleaf pine ecosystems to collect and integrate quality-assured fuel, fire, and atmospheric data for development and evaluation of fuel, fire behavior, smoke, and fire effects models.
Fuel mastication is becoming the preferred method of fuel treatment in areas where using prescribed fire is an issue. While much is known about mastication effects soils, fire behavior and vegetative response, little is known about how fuel particle and fuel bed characteristics and properties change over time.
The ArcBurn project uses controlled laboratory experiments and instrumentation on prescribed burns and wildfires to determine critical damage thresholds for cultural resources including archaeological sites, artifacts, and heritage resources. Data and observations on fire effects and effectiveness of fuels treatments are then used to develop guidelines for best treatment practices and protection of archaeological resources.

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