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Project ID: 11-1-1-27

Year: 2011

Date Started: 08/01/2011

Date Completed: 11/21/2013

Title: Evaluating Post-Fire Successional Trajectories After a Large High-Severity Wildfire

Project Proposal Abstract: We propose to address the goal of Task 1 by taking advantage of permanent plots in the largest severe fire in the Southwest to assess fire effects on (1) successional trajectory, (2) plant community changes, including persistence of post-fire seeding and presence of non-native species, and (3) fuel dynamics. In 2002, the Rodeo-Chediski fire burned 468,638 acres, the largest forest fire on record in the Southwest. In 2004, we established 140 permanent plots on the Rodeo-Chediski fire in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, contrasting post-fire responses of paired treated/untreated stands with different pre-fire structure. We used vegetation simulation modeling to compare the two alternative post-fire successional trajectories of treated and untreated stands (Strom and Fulé 2007; this published peer-reviewed article from the study site is attached to the proposal). Remeasurement of the permanent plots and re-assessment of successional trajectories forms the first objective of this proposal. The Rodeo-Chediski fire was seeded with several herbaceous species, permitting study of the persistence of post-fire rehabilitation seeding and occurrence of non-native species. In partnership with the study by Strom and Fulé, 84 of the permanent plots were measured for plant community characteristics in 2004 and 2005. The data were used in an unpublished graduate thesis. However, we published a companion study with data from the southern portion of the Rodeo-Chediski fire on White Mountain Apache Tribal lands. That study showed that non-native plants were a minor component of the post-fire community and that seeded species did not persist on Tribal lands, but different management history and seed mixes characterize the National Forest lands. The second objective of this proposal is to combine current remeasurement data with the previous data to assess plant community dynamics, including the fate of seeded species, in order to evaluate the burned area rehabilitation treatment of seeding. The third objective of this proposal is to assess fuel dynamics (changes in snags, logs, and fine woody fuels). The permanent plot network we established in 2004 permits actual measurement of fuel load and arrangement after fire, an important issue for fire management and to inform activities such as salvage logging. The possibility of future severe wildfires fueled by high debris loads would substantially alter future successional trajectories, making the analysis of fuels an indispensable adjunct to the successional modeling. The results from the proposed project will be immediately applicable to land managers at local and regional scales. A key management linkage is through the Southwest Fire Science Consortium sponsored by JFSP. Fulé is a co-PI for the Consortium and Sieg is a collaborator. Accordingly, we have designed several deliverables to partner with Consortium activities: online and in-person presentations to management audiences. We will also deliver three manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication, one aimed at each of the three research objectives. The data will contribute to an M.S. thesis (student funded separately). Our study offers the rare opportunity to review long-term effects of fuel treatments that were tested under the single most severe fire incident to date in the region. The data will be of value to managers currently developing assessments under the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program and similar analyses.

Principal Investigator: Peter Z. Fule

Agency/Organization: Northern Arizona University

Branch or Dept: School of Forestry

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Cindy L. Judge

Northern Arizona University

Office of Grant & Contract Service

Budget Contact

Cindy L. Judge

Northern Arizona University

Office of Grant & Contract Service

Co-Principal Investigator

Kristen L. Shive

University of California-Berkeley

Department of Environmental Sciences-Policy & Management

Co-Principal Investigator

Carolyn H. Sieg

Forest Service

RMRS-Southwest Forest Science Complex

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network









Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

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
view or print   3432 Journal Article Applied Vegetation Science
view or print go to website 3433 Journal Article International Journal of Wildland Fire
view or print   316 MS Thesis Pre-fire treatments have persistent effects on post-fire plant communities
view or print   317 MS Thesis Simulando trayectorias de sucesión post-incendio bajo alternativas de clima y gestión: caso de estud
    7350 Invited Paper/Presentation How will climate change & treatments affect future forests? Webinar, Southwest Fire Science Consorti
  go to website 7351 Invited Paper/Presentation Climate change and wildfire in the Southwest
    7349 Field Demonstration/Tour Forest restoration research, Second American Dendrochronology Conference
    7352 Invited Paper/Presentation Climate change impacts on forests
    7353 Invited Paper/Presentation Changement Climatique et les Forêts
    7354 Invited Paper/Presentation Pre-fire fuel reduction treatments influence plant communities and exotic species nine years after w
    7355 Invited Paper/Presentation Successional trends in forest recovery on the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski fire of northeastern Arizona
    7356 Invited Paper/Presentation Ten years after wildfires: how does varying tree mortality impact fire hazard and forest resiliency?

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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