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Project ID: 15-1-07-1

Year: 2015

Date Started: 08/01/2015

Ending Date:  09/30/2018

Title: Restoration experiments in ponderosa pine at Ft Valley Experimental Forest: Twenty years post-fire

Project Proposal Abstract: Project Summary/Abstract: This proposed project addresses the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) Project Announcement No. FA-FON0015-0001, Task #7 - Remeasurement - long-term fire effects on vegetation and fuels. We propose to remeasure the 20-year post-fire response of vegetation and fuels on a restoration experiment in a ponderosa pine-bunchgrass ecosystem on the Fort Valley Experimental Forest (FVEF) near Flagstaff, AZ. In 1992, this restoration experiment was established within an old-growth ponderosa pine forest on the Fort Valley Experimental Forest (FVEF) near Flagstaff, Arizona by Northern Arizona Universitys (NAU) Ecological Restoration Institute (ERI) and School of Forestry (SoF) in cooperation with the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS). Specifically, the replicated experiment evaluates the long-term ecosystem responses of an untreated control and two restoration treatments, which were thinning from below and thinning from below with prescribed burning. This study has and will continue to provide valuable experimental evidence on the role of repeated prescribed fire and a twenty-year post-fire response of tree structure, fuels, and understory productivity and plant diversity. In addition, this study provides a better understanding of trade-offs among forest management treatment options. We propose to remeasure and quantify changes in key response variables related to post-fire fuels and plant succession in southwestern ponderosa pine, such as pre- and post-settlement tree structure, pine regeneration, herbaceous plant cover and diversity. We will examine the interaction of prescribed fire and drought on presettlement tree growth and crown dieback, pre- and post-settlement tree mortality, pine regeneration, herbaceous plant cover and diversity over this 20-year period. The relationships among treatment responses and drought are especially relevant in the Southwest where the climate trends are predicted to be warmer and drier, and fire-prone conditions are increasing at a very rapid pace. For example, since the initiation of our experiment in 1992, the region has experienced two of the most severe drought years in the past 500 years. We can use this opportunity to increase our understanding of climate change, particularly the impacts of drought, and drought-fire interactions. We have some evidence that the trees and herbaceous plants in these restoration treatments demonstrated resilience to severe drought (greater tree growth and plant production versus the untreated control), but these trends need to be examined over the 20-year period. Lastly, we wish to continue use of this experimental site for information and education programs. It has been visited by many scientists, managers, and lay people over the years, and the results from this experiment has provided useful guidelines to larger (landscape-scale) ponderosa pine restoration and fuels management projects throughout the Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions. We have published over 20 refereed publications from this experiment. We propose to archive these long-term data (20+ years; pre- and post-treatment) in the US Forest Service Research Archive repository. All proposed measurements were part of the original experiments design and data collection. This project is not part of an ongoing measurement program and, therefore, funding by JFSP is critical to obtaining the 20-year post-fire remeasurements.

Principal Investigator: Margaret M. Moore

Agency/Organization: Northern Arizona University

Branch or Dept: School of Forestry


Other Project Collaborators

Type

Name

Agency/Organization

Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Cindy D. Gordon

Forest Service

RMRS-Rocky Mountain Research Station

Budget Contact

Cindy D. Gordon

Forest Service

RMRS-Rocky Mountain Research Station

Co-Principal Investigator

Peter Z. Fule

Northern Arizona University

School of Forestry

Co-Principal Investigator

David W. Huffman

Northern Arizona University

Ecological Restoration Institute

Co-Principal Investigator

Warren K. Moser

Forest Service

RMRS-Forest and Woodlands Ecosystem Program

Co-Principal Investigator

Andrew J. Sanchez Meador

Northern Arizona University

School of Forestry

Co-Principal Investigator

Robert T. Strahan

Northern Arizona University

Ecological Restoration Institute

Funding Cooperator

Warren K. Moser

Forest Service

RMRS-Forest and Woodlands Ecosystem Program


Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Southern Rockies

Southwest


Level

State

Agency

Unit

STATE

AZ

FS

Coconino National Forest


Project Deliverables

There is no final report available for this project.
  ID Type Title
    7808 Field Demonstration/Tour Restoration experiments in ponderosa pine at Ft Valley Experimental Forest: Twenty years post-fire

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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