Bending the carbon curve: fire management for carbon resilience under climate changeAuthor(s): E. L. Loudermilk; R. M. Scheller; P. J. Weisberg; Alec Kretchun
Source: Landscape Ecology
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Southern Research Station
View PDF (757.0 KB)
Forest landscapes are increasingly managed for fire resilience, particularly in the western US which has recently experienced drought and widespread, high-severity wildfires. Fuel reduction treatments have been effective where fires coincide with treated areas. Fuel treatments also have the potential to reduce drought-mortality if tree density is uncharacteristically high, and to increase long-term carbon storage by reducing high-severity fire probability. Objective Assess whether fuel treatments reduce fire intensity and spread and increase carbon storage under climate change. Methods We used a simulation modeling approach that couples a landscape model of forest disturbance and succession with an ecosystem model of carbon dynamics (Century), to quantify the interacting effects of climate change, fuel treatments and wildfire for carbon storage potential in a mixed-conifer forest in the western USA. Results Our results suggest that fuel treatments have the potential to ‘bend the C curve’, maintaining carbon resilience despite climate change and climate-related changes to the fire regime. Simulated fuel treatments resulted in reduced fire spread and severity. There was partial compensation of C lost during fuel treatments with increased growth of residual stock due to greater available soil water, as well as a shift in species composition to more drought- and fire-tolerant Pinus jeffreyi at the expense of shade-tolerant, fire-susceptible Abies concolor. Conclusions Forest resilience to global change can be achieved through management that reduces drought stress and supports the establishment and dominance of tree species that are more fire- and drought resistant, however, achieving a net C gain from fuel treatments may take decades.
- 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.
CitationLoudermilk, E. L.; Scheller, R. M.; Weisberg, P. J.; Kretchun, Alec. 2017.Bending the carbon curve: fire management for carbon resilience under climate change. Landscape Ecology. 32(7): 1461-1472. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-016-0447-x.
KeywordsCarbon, Wildfire, Climate change, Fuel treatments, Resilience, Lake Tahoe Basin, Simulation modeling
- Initial tree regeneration responses to fire and thinning treatments in a Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forest, USA
- Soil organic carbon partitioning and Δ14C variation in desert and conifer ecosystems of southern Arizona
- Managing forest habitat for conservation-reliant species in a changing climate: The case of the endangered Kirtland's Warbler
XML: View XML