To develop effective long-term strategies, natural resource managers need to account for the projected effects of climate change as well as the uncertainty inherent in those projec- tions. Vegetation models are one important source of projected climate effects.
fire effects and fire ecology
A century of fire suppression across the Western US has led to more crowded forests and increased competition for resources. Studies of forest thinning or stand conditions after mortality events have provided indirect evidence for how competition can promote drought stress and predispose forests to severe fire and/or bark beetle outbreaks.
More than 70 years of fire suppression by federal land management agencies has interrupted fire regimes in much of the western United States. The result of missed fire cycles is a buildup of both surface and canopy fuels in many forest ecosystems, increasing the risk of severe fire.
Ensuring adequate conifer regeneration after high severity wildfires is a common objective for ecologists and forest managers.
Each year wildland fires kill and injure trees on millions of forested hectares globally, affecting plant and animal biodiversity, carbon storage, hydrologic processes, and ecosystem services.
Executive Summary: For millennia, wildfires have markedly influenced forests and non-forested landscapes of the western United States (US), and they are increasingly seen as having substantial impacts on society and nature. There is growing concern over what kinds and amounts of fire will achieve desirable outcomes and limit harmful effects on people and nature.
Ecological departure, or how much landscapes have changed from a natural range of variation (NRV), has become a key metric in forest planning and restoration efforts. In this study we define forest restoration need as the specific change in structural stage abundance necessary to move landscapes into the NRV.
Given regional increases in fire activity in western North American forests, understanding how fire influences the extent and effects of subsequent fires is particularly relevant. Remotely sensed estimates of fire effects have allowed for spatial portioning into different severity categories based on the degree of fire-caused vegetation change.
In the context of ongoing climatic warming, forest landscapes face increasing risk of conversion to non‐forest vegetation through alteration of their fire regimes and their post‐fire recovery dynamics. However, this pressure could be amplified or dampened, depending on how fire‐driven changes to vegetation feed back to alter the extent or behaviour of subsequent fires.
Massive tree mortality has occurred rapidly in frequent-fire-adapted forests of the Sierra Nevada, California. This mortality is a product of acute drought compounded by the long-established removal of a key ecosystem process: frequent, low- to moderate-intensity fire.