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    Author(s): William F. Laudenslayer
    Date: 1997
    Source: Proceedings of the Symposium. Fire in California Ecosystems: Integrating Ecology, Prevention and Management November 17-20,1997 San Diego, CA
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: View PDF  (923 KB)

    Description

    Snags are important to forests because they contribute to the developinent, maintenance, and productivity of' soils and provide habitat for an array of life fornls. Historically, fire has played an irnportant role in shaping the composition and structure of many forests in the western IJnited States and fire is now being reintroduced to restore the natural process. However, the effect of firc: on the snag resource is not well known and responses may differ depending on the length of time between fires. Preliminary data from two frres in eastside pine forests, burning after a long fire-fiee interval, suggest that fire-killed trees deteriorate at faster rates than trees dying from other causes and fires remove many of the existing snags. Of 14 trees dying after a prescribed bum in 1990, eight lost large portions of their tops by 1997. In an unburned plot, only six of 21 trees dying in that period lost large portions of their tops. Eight trees on the burned plot lost more than 10 percent of their bark, whereas none of the trees on the unburned plot lost even 10 percent of their bark, In an area burned in 1995, 39 of 71 snags survived the burn but some were heavily scorched or incurred other damage from the fire. These results suggest that fire may have a great effect on the characteristics and numbers of snags in eastside pine forests. However, additional studies are necessary to determine if these results are typical of a more frequent fire regimes.

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    Citation

    Laudenslayer, William F. 1997. Effects of Prescribed Fire on Live Trees and Snags in Eastside Pine Forests in California. Proceedings of the Symposium. Fire in California Ecosystems: Integrating Ecology, Prevention and Management November 17-20,1997 San Diego, CA

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