Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Benefits of treating old-growth stands

Author(s):

Mick Harrington

Year:

2007

Publication type:

Miscellaneous Publication

Primary Station(s):

Rocky Mountain Research Station

Source:

In: EcoReport. Missoula, MT: Bitterroot Ecosystem Management Research Project: 8.

Description

Old-growth ponderosa pine and western larch forests that developed as a result of frequent, low-intensity fires were once extensive in the Inland West, but now are rare due to historical logging and, more recently, severe wildfires. In response to missing several natural fire cycles, remaining stands of old trees are at increasingly greater risk from uncharacteristically high severity wildfire and insect and disease impacts. Fire suppression activities over almost a century have allowed dense ingrowth of mostly shade-tolerant species. In turn, this increased stand density creates ladder fuels (thickets of understory trees), increasing potential for high intensity wildfire and competition for site resources (soil moisture and nutrients). Land managers recognize this condition as unsustainable but have been generally reluctant to implement treatments because of uncertainty about effects on old-growth habitat.

Citation

Harrington, Mick. 2007. Benefits of treating old-growth stands. In: EcoReport. Missoula, MT: Bitterroot Ecosystem Management Research Project: 8.

Publication Notes

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/27704