Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Gabrielle N. Bohlman; Malcolm North; Hugh D. Safford
    Date: 2016
    Source: Forest Ecology and Management. 374: 195-210
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (2.0 MB)

    Description

    Large, high severity fires are becoming more prevalent in Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forests, largely due to heavy fuel loading and forest densification caused by past and current management practices. In post-fire areas distant from seed trees, conifers are often planted to re-establish a forest and to prevent a potential type-conversion to shrub fields. Typical reforestation efforts promote conifer survival and growth by reducing competing shrub cover, yet the effects of these practices on plant species richness and composition are not well understood. We compared the effects of treatment and time since fire on (1) native and exotic plant species richness, (2) plant community composition, and (3) stand structure. Plots were installed throughout three different aged but proximate fires located in the canyon of the South Fork of the American River in California, 10, 22, and 41 years after fire. All three fires included large patches of stand-replacing fire that had been reforested with conifers as well as unplanted areas. Native plant species richness was significantly higher in planted areas where shrub cover was lower and planted trees successfully established. Native species richness decreased as time since fire increased, but the relationship between shrub control and richness persisted. Exotic species richness was higher on treated sites in the more recent fires, while the opposite was true in the oldest fire. As time since fire increased, under-story species composition shifted from a community dominated by annuals and perennials to one dominated by shrubs and shade-tolerant trees. Shrub cover and July soil moisture were the top two factors influencing understory richness levels. Natural regeneration was low in the youngest fire and high in the oldest fire but highly heterogeneous in all three fires. Our study suggests that while retaining some shrub cover for post-fire habitat may be desirable, some level of shrub reduction does favor native plant richness and overall herbaceous cover.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to psw_communications@fs.fed.us 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.

    Citation

    Bohlman, Gabrielle N.; North, Malcolm; Safford, Hugh D. 2016. Shrub removal in reforested post-fire areas increases native plant species richness. Forest Ecology and Management. 374: 195-210.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    mixed-conifer forest, high-severity fire, reforestation, richness, understory composition

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/52936