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Project ID: 01-1-3-40

Year: 2002

Date Started: 06/04/2002

Date Completed: 07/31/2006

Title: Incorporating Spatial Heterogeneity into Fire Restoration Plans

Project Proposal Abstract: We propose to study how plants that make up the forest understory, particularly the tree seedling and herbaceous species, respond to environmental heterogeneity that is created by fire. This project is designed to contribute to RFP-l, taslcs 3 and 4, and RFP-3, task 3 by addressing fire in a landscape context, developing applications of remote sensing, and closing local knowledge gaps. We will use the mixed-conifer forest in Sequoia National Park to closely examine the role of fire in generating the environmental heterogeneity needed to provide establishment opportunities for tree seedlings and understory herbs and shrubs. Detailed field measurements of understory composition prior to and following spring and fall prescribed fires and wildfires will allow us to explore how plants respond to fine-scale variability in fire effects under different burn conditions. Next, we will search across scales to find larger-scale aspects of heterogeneity, such as variability in fire intensity, size, and frequency, that affect understory communities. Finally, we will develop techniques for using remotely sensed imagery and digital terrain data to predict community response to fire treatments at a variety of scales. Spatial statistics will allow us to identify which aspects of heterogeneity are most important for maintaining diversity in the understory, providing tree establishment opportunities, and deterring the spread of exotic invasive species. Our results will be compiled into a graphical decision support tool that will aid managers in making informed projections of the community-level consequences of fire management decisions. This project extends previous and current efforts by (1) using a cross- scale approach that looks at both very fine-scale and large-scale patterns, and (2) by incorporating the diversity of plants that compete and coexist with tree seedlings on the forest floor.

Principal Investigator: Dean Urban

Agency/Organization: Duke University

Branch or Dept: Nicholas School of the Environment

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Norman L. Christensen

Duke University

Nicholas School of the Environment

Co-Principal Investigator

Monique E. Rocca

Colorado State University

Department of Forest, Rangeland & Watershed Stewardship


Nathan Stephenson

USGS-Geological Survey

WERC-Sequoia & Kings Canyon Field Station

Federal Cooperator

Jon E. Keeley

USGS-Geological Survey

WERC-Sequoia & Kings Canyon Field Station

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network


There are no project locations identified for this project.

Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
    91 Ph.D. Dissertation Spatial Considerations in Fire Management: The Importance of Heterogeneity for Maintaining Diversity in a Mixed-Conifer Forest (Monique Rocca)
    998 Government Publication Papers of Ecological and Management Literature
    683 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Multiple Regional and Local training sessions and workshops.
    684 Computer Model/Software/Algorithm  

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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