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Fuel treatments alter native plant composition and increase non-native plant coverAuthor(s): Suzanne Owen
Source: In: Klopfenstein, Ned B.; Geils, Brian W. Invasive Species Science Update (No. 4). Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 5-6.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: View PDF (350.0 KB)
DescriptionSlash-pile burning and mechanical mastication are commonly prescribed fuel treatments for wildfire mitigation. Researchers from Flagstaff, AZ, and Spain recently published an article in Forest Ecology and Management that compared effects of the treatments on understory plant composition in Colorado pinyon-juniper woodlands (Owen and others 2009). Results showed that slash-pile burns had a different plant community composition compared to untreated areas. Pile burns were dominated by exotic plant species and had approximately six times less understory plant abundance and richness than untreated areas. Pile burns mainly consisted of exposed mineral soil, even 3.5 years post-treatment, and were surrounded by a ring of non-native musk thistle (Carduus nutans). No differences in plant cover or composition were observed between mastication-treated areas and untreated areas 6 months after treatment.
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CitationOwen, Suzanne. 2010. Fuel treatments alter native plant composition and increase non-native plant cover. In: Klopfenstein, Ned B.; Geils, Brian W. Invasive Species Science Update (No. 4). Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 5-6.
Keywordsfuel treatments, native plant, slash-pile burns
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