Skip to Main Content
Long-term effects of prescribed fire on mixed conifer forest structure in the Sierra Nevada, CaliforniaAuthor(s): Phillip J. Van Mantgem; Nathan L. Stephenson; Eric Knapp; John Barrles; Jon E. Keeley
Source: Forest Ecology and Management 261(6): 989-994
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
View PDF (308.64 KB)
DescriptionThe capacity of prescribed fire to restore forest conditions is often judged by changes in forest structure within a few years following burning. However, prescribed fire might have longer-term effects on forest structure, potentially changing treatment assessments. We examined annual changes in forest structure in five 1 ha old-growth plots immediately before prescribed fire and up to eight years after fire at Sequoia National Park, California. Fire-induced declines in stem density (67% average decrease at eight years postfire) were nonlinear, takingupto eight years to reach a presumed asymptote. Declines in live stem biomass were also nonlinear, but smaller in magnitude (32% average decrease at eight years post-fire) as most large trees survived the fires. The preferential survival of large trees following fire resulted in significant shifts in stem diameter distributions. Mortality rates remained significantly above background rates up to six years after the fires. Prescribed fire did not have a large influence on the representation of dominant species. Fire-caused mortality appeared to be spatially random, and therefore did not generally alter heterogeneous tree spatial patterns. Our results suggest that prescribed fire can bring about substantial changes to forest structure in old-growth mixed conifer forests in the Sierra Nevada, but that long-term observations are needed to fully describe some measures of fire effects.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- 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.
CitationVan Mantgem, Phillip J.; Stephenson, Nathan L.; Knapp, Eric; Battles, John; Keeley, Jon E. 2011. Long-term effects of prescribed fire on mixed conifer forest structure in the Sierra Nevada, California. Forest Ecology and Management 261(6): 989-994
Keywordsfire ecology, forest restoration, fuel reduction treatment, spatial pattern, tree mortality
- Changes in stand structure and tree vigor with repeated prescribed fire in an Appalachian hardwood forest
- Structure and dynamics of an upland old-growth forest at Redwood National Park, California
- Effects of prescribed fire in giant sequoia-mixed conifer stands in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
XML: View XML