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Project ID: 00-2-31

Year: 2001

Date Started: 01/18/2001

Date Completed: 06/27/2005

Title: Restoring Mixed Conifer Ecosystems to Pre-Fire Suppression Conditions in Crater Lake National Park

Project Proposal Abstract: Determining when to burn to achieve desired outcomes is key to a successful prescribed fire management program. The rationale for selecting burn parameters must be science based in order to predict desired outputs, such as removing certain types of fuel or maintaining specific ecological characteristics. In 1976, after about 80 years of aggressive fire suppression, a prescribed fire program was initiated in Crater Lake National Park to restore mix-conifer forests. The objectives were to favor retention of large ponderosa pine overshade-tolerant species and to create conditions that enhance ponderosa pine regeneration. Unexpected mortality of large ponderosa pine occurred during the ten- year program of prescribed fires. It was determined that the prescribed fires had burned too hot and too much duff was removed, thus weakening trees and increasing the probability of attack by bark beetles. Recommendations were made for burns to be done earlier in spring when duff moisture is more than 30 percent. Prescribed burning was discontinued after 1987, however, and the recommendations were never tested. The objectives of this study are to examine the effects of (spring) prescribed fires with duff moisture more than 30 percent on forest floor characteristics and on tree survival, mortality, and establishment in mixed-conifer forests of Crater Lake National Park. A study area in the southeast portion of the park will be divided into 24 (independent) experimental units. Twenty units will be randomly assigned one of five burn days. The average duff moisture will be decreased from about 65 to 30 percent at a rate of 5 to 10 percent over the five burn days. Four control units will be unburned. The relationship between (bum) duff moisture and change in forest characteristics will be determined using multiple regression. Selective thinning around low vigor trees to improve tree survival will also be tested. This study will provide park managers with new information on when to burn and the potential consequences of their actions, as well as, help revive a prescribed burn program in a significant park ecosystem that unquestionably needs treatment.

Principal Investigator: James K. Agee

Agency/Organization: University of Washington

Branch or Dept: School of Forest Resources

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Federal Cooperator

Mark Huff

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Great Basin


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.")

  ID Type Title
    1666 Government Publication Final Report to Park Managers
    2715 Journal Article Seasonal Fire Effects on Mixed Conifer Forest Structure and Ponderosa Pine Resin Properties
view or print   202 MS Thesis Seasonal Fire Effects on Mixed-Conifer Forest Structure and Pine Resin Properties (D.D.B. Perrakis)
    225 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Presentation to Staff at Crater Lake NP

Supporting Documents

The following supporting documents are available for this project.

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