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Project ID: 01C-3-1-05

Year: 2002

Date Started: 08/27/2002

Date Completed: 01/30/2007

Title: Managing Fuels in Northeastern Barrens

Project Proposal Abstract: Fire-dependent barrens of the Northeast are important habitat for numerous rare, threatened, and endangered species, and, at the same time, represent the most dangerous wildiand fuel type in the region. As such, fire in barrens poses a significant wildland-urban interface risk in this densely populated area. Barrens occur throughout the northeastern and mid-Atlantic states on drought-prone soils, and are dominated by pitch pine, scrub oak, various tree oak species, and several ericaceous shrub species. Fire behavior in barrens vegetation is comparable to southern rough of the Southeast and chaparral of the West. We propose to address Tasks 1, 2, and 3 of the Joint Fire Science Program 200 1-03 Request For Proposals as they relate to managing northeastern barrens fuel types. Our first objective (Task 1) is to establish two demonstration sites where barrens fuels are managed using innovative combinations of overstory thinning, mechanical treatment of shrub fuels, sheep grazing and prescribed fire to reduce fuel loads, wildfire intensity, and wildland-urban interface risk. We will target the general public and land managers of the region with interpretive signs, brochures, guided walks, websites, and two symposia. Our second objective (Task 2) is to assess the effectiveness of combination treatments (e.g., mowing and burning, thinning and grazing) in reducing fuel loads and fire intensity in barrens. This work will build upon a 18-year study examining individual treatments (mowing or burning during the dormant or growing seasons with treatments at 1-, 2-, 3- or 4-year intervals) in barrens vegetation at Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS). We will also take advantage of new work on Martha's Vineyard which has as its primary goal the establishment of fire breaks (i.e. fuel-free zones) around the perimeter of the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest (MFCSF). We will combine JFSP and Commonwealth of Massachusetts funding to establish treatments combining logging, mechanical treatment of brush, grazing and prescribed fire to evaluate the best methods for altering fuel bed structure while maintaining barrens attributes associated with rare species habitats. Our third objective (Task 3) is to revise, test, and refine custom BEHAVE fuel models for both unaltered and managed barrens fuels. We have developed custom fuel models for several barrens areas in the Northeast, but testing has been limited. The CCNS fire management plan has identified refining and testing of custom fuel models as an information need. Ongoing work at CCNS (National Park Service) and MFCSF (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management) provides us with the background, framework and agency support to make significant contributions to resource managers' understanding of fire behavior and fuel modification techniques. Results from this project will be applicable to management of barrens fuels on federal, state, and private lands throughout the Northeast.

Principal Investigator: William A. Patterson III

Agency/Organization: University of Massachusetts

Branch or Dept: Department of Environmental Conservation

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Federal Cooperator

David W. Crary

NPS-National Park Service

Cape Cod National Seashore

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Lake States

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
    1024 Government Publication Management Guide for Agency or Landowners’ Use
    161 MS Thesis Characterizing Canopy Fuels as They Affect Fire Behavior in Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida) (M.J. Duveneck)
  go to website 270 Website  
    215 Conference/Symposia/Workshop  
    874 Field Demonstration/Tour  
    876 Computer Model/Software/Algorithm  

Supporting Documents

The following supporting documents are available for this project.

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