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Project ID: 09-1-06-2

Year: 2009

Date Started: 10/01/2009

Date Completed: 05/19/2012

Title: Effect of Fires and Insects on Fuel Structures in Piñon-Juniper and Post-Fire Invasive Communities

Project Proposal Abstract: Abstract: In the last decade, piñon-juniper (Pinus edulis-Juniperus osteosperma) woodlands of southwestern Colorado have been heavily impacted by wildfires and insects, and the effects on fuel structures and future fire intervals are unclear. In southwestern Colorados piñon-juniper woodlands, pre-historic fire intervals up to 400 year were documented, but in recent climatic conditions, woodlands burned in 1989, 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2003. Since the 1990s, a period of drought and rising temperatures, portions of the post-fire landscape are targets for invasive musk thistle and cheatgrass, whose presence create unprecedented fuels, may shorten fire intervals, and reduce native biodiversity. Extensive beetle kill may have altered fuel properties in dense unburned woodlands. We will use traditional field-based and novel experimental studies to address changes in fuel structures due to recent fires and insect infestations and explore management implications of these changes. We propose in 2 related studies: 1) re- evaluate fuel profiles since the beetle kill in mature piñon- juniper woodlands originally sampled in 1993, 2) evaluate fuel profiles in burned areas with and without BAER-sponsored seeding mitigation and representing various degrees of non-native invasion. The proposed research will also allow us to revisit previously established seed mitigation monitoring points established by the BAER program and allow a long-term evaluation of treatment effectiveness. The studies will result in two + journal articles and will be accessible through the Mesa Verde National Park MVNP website and in two interpretative displays for (MVNP and Ute Mountain). The study will directly be useful to fire and resource managers as they weigh fuel treatments that result from beetle kill and exotic invasions after fires and will add to knowledge of fire effects and fire ecology (patterns of post-fire succession) in pinon-juniper woodlands.

Principal Investigator: M. Lisa Floyd-Hanna

Agency/Organization: Prescott College

Branch or Dept: Environmental Studies Program

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Timothy E Crews

Prescott College

Environmental Studies Program

Federal Cooperator

George L. San Miguel

NPS-National Park Service

Mesa Verde National Park

Federal Fiscal Representative

Marilynn K Heath

NPS-National Park Service

Mesa Verde National Park

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Southern Rockies


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.")

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Supporting Documents

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