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Project ID: 16-1-01-15

Year: 2016

Date Started: 08/01/2016

Ending Date:  07/01/2019

Title: Climate variability and post-fire forest regeneration in the Northern Rockies

Project Proposal Abstract: To assess the implications of a changing climate and larger high severity fires for forest resilience in Northern Rockies dry conifer forests, we will identify the relationship between post-fire conifer recruitment and annual climate variability, and explore how climatic thresholds interact with seed availability to alter post-fire vegetation trajectories. Post-fire conifer regeneration is an increasingly important management concern, given current trends of larger, more severe fires, and warmer and drier post-fire conditions. We will use a dendrochronological study of two dominant lower treeline species (Pinus ponderosa (ponderosa pine) and Pseudotsuga menziesii (Doug-fir)) to identify the precise recruitment years of seedlings regenerating after recent large wildfires, and compare these temporal patterns to annual climate variability. The nature of these regeneration-climate relationships, in conjunction with an existing dataset on post-fire seedling densities, will be used to parameterize a model predicting post-fire regeneration as a function of climate, seed source, and topographic variables. This simulation model will be a powerful tool to understand the interactive effects of annual climate and fire patch size on regeneration, and to identify if climatic or fire size thresholds exist beyond which forest recovery is unlikely. To ensure that our findings are useful to managers, we will apply this simulation model using a set of alternative scenarios representing changes in climate, fuel reduction treatments, and post-fire seedling planting. Our scenarios will be developed with manager input, and they will serve to clarify if and when fuel reduction treatments or post-fire planting can alter forest regeneration under future climate scenarios.

Principal Investigator: Philip E. Higuera

Agency/Organization: University of Montana

Branch or Dept: College of Forestry & Conservation


Other Project Collaborators

Type

Name

Agency/Organization

Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Sasha N. Lawson

University of Montana

Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

Budget Contact

Sasha N. Lawson

University of Montana

Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

Co-Principal Investigator

Solomon Z. Dobrowski

University of Montana

College of Forestry & Conservation

Co-Principal Investigator

Kimberley T. Taylor

Montana State University

Land Resources and Environmental Sceinces Department

Collaborator/Contributor

Kerry B. Kemp

University of Idaho

College of Natural Resources

Collaborator/Contributor

Penny Morgan

University of Idaho

Department of Forest Resources

Collaborator/Contributor

Sean A. Parks

Forest Service

RMRS-Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute


Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Northern Rockies


Level

State

Agency

Unit

STATE

ID

FS

ALL

STATE

MT

FS

ALL


Project Deliverables

There is no final report available for this project.
There are no deliverables available for this project.

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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