Print Friendly and PDF


Advanced Search Results Detail

Project ID: 10-1-01-7

Year: 2010

Date Started: 06/01/2010

Ending Date:  07/03/2014

Title: Pinon and Juniper Tree Mastication Effects in the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau

Project Proposal Abstract: This study will determine effects of masticating piñon and juniper(PJ)trees on fuels, understory vegetation, soils, and modeled fire behavior to support and guide use of this popular fuel-reduction tool (see 8 management support letters). The invasion of PJ trees into former sagebrush steppe communities is considered one of the greatest afforestations of our time. It is estimated that 34% of invaded shrub steppe areas are currently in Phase I (low tree density, shrubs and herbs dominate), 40% are in Phase II (trees are codominant with shrubs and herbs), while 27% are in Phase III (trees dominant over reduced shrubs and herbs). The amount of PJ woodlands in Phase III is expected to increase to 75% within the next 50 years. To reduce the potential for catastrophic crown fires and subsequent weed invasion, as well as to improve resource values, land managers have been masticating trees for over 10 years. Managers often prefer tree mastication because it involves less risk than prescribed fire; it is seen as less hydrologically or ecologically-disruptive than chaining; it is considered to reduce fuel structure and fire spread better than cutting; it is highly versatile in application from thinning to clearing; and it can be done most seasons as long as the soil is not too wet. Yet there are no published studies of fuel, vegetation, or soil responses to PJ mastication, or guidelines on how or where to best apply mastication as a fuel control and ecologically-beneficial practice. We propose to determine the effects of tree mastication on Phase I, II, and III tree invasion across a wide range of sites in the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau. We will evaluate the effects of mastication treatments, with and without follow-up fire on fuel, vegetation, and soil response variables, and also on potential fire behavior. We will use 2 complementary studies: 1) a retrospective study (RS) to determine effects of time since mastication, subsequent fire, climate, and site variables on response variables across a wide range of sites (approximately 40 sites x 3 phases in each site) and 2) a follow-up assessment of SageSTEP (SS) plots on 3 sites measured prior to mastication in 2006-2006 and after mastication from 2007-2009 to determine effects of initial mastication fuel structure on subsequent fuel biomass loss. The SS assessment will also supplement treatment comparisons made in the RS by comparing fuel, vegetation, and soil responses among untreated, pre-masticated and masticated plots. Using the RS study, we will compare response variables on subplots sampled on paired untreated and masticated areas on the same ecological site with similar initial tree cover as determined using NAIP imagery (National Agricultural Imagery Program; 1-m resolution). This paired approach is feasible because land managers often leave areas untreated for wildlife cover near masticated areas. To determine fuel changes over time for the RS, we will compare current masticated biomass with initial masticated biomass, as estimated from pre-masticated tree cover from NAIP imagery. To determine effects of post-mastication fire, we will sample masticated-burned sites where pre-mastication and pre-burn data are available (one SS site and other sites burned by the Salt Lake Field Office BLM). Besides univariate comparisons of response variables from the RS and SS study, we will input climate and site data into a structural equation model to determine direct and indirect effects of these variables on fuel, vegetation, and soil response variables. To determine effects of mastication and subsequent fire on potential fire behavior, we will input untreated and masticated fuel data into fire behavior models, and vary abiotic conditions to determine under what conditions changes in fuel structure could lead to threshold changes in fire behavior. A comprehensive summary will indicate outcomes from mastication and guidelines for future projects.

Principal Investigator: Bruce A. Roundy

Agency/Organization: Brigham Young University

Branch or Dept: Department of Plant & Wildlife Sciences


Other Project Collaborators

Type

Name

Agency/Organization

Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Zachary T. Aanderud

Brigham Young University

Department of Plant & Wildlife Sciences

Co-Principal Investigator

April Hulet

ARS-Agricultural Research Service

Great Basin Rangelands Research Unit

Co-Principal Investigator

Kert R Young

Brigham Young University

Department of Plant & Wildlife Sciences

Federal Cooperator

Stanley G. Kitchen

Forest Service

RMRS-Shrub Sciences Laboratory

Federal Fiscal Representative

Susan T. Major

Forest Service

RMRS-Rocky Mountain Research Station


Project Locations

Consortium

Great Plains

Southern Rockies

Southwest


Level

State

Agency

Unit

REGIONAL

Interior West

FED


Project Deliverables

There is no final report available for this project.
  ID Type Title
view or print go to website 1442 Government Publication Piñon and Juniper Tree Mastication Effects in the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau
    5495 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Estimating Piñon and Juniper Tree Cover Using NAIP Imagery Across Utah
    5496 Poster Piñon and Juniper Tree Mastication Effects in the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau
    5497 Poster Investigating the Potential for Piñon and Juniper Mastication to Influence Soil Health and Invasibility

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

Convert PDF documents to an html document using Adobe's online conversion tool.
Download Adobe Acrobat Reader