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Project ID: 03-3-2-06

Year: 2003

Date Started: 09/03/2003

Date Completed: 02/28/2008

Title: Effects of Mechanically Generated Slash Particle Size on Prescribed Fire Behavior and Subsequent Vegetation Effects

Project Proposal Abstract: Forest managers have begun to restore ecosystem structure and function in fire-prone ecosystems that have experienced fire exclusion, commodity based resource extraction, and extensive grazing during much of the 20th century. Thinning dense stands of trees and prescribed burning are the primary tools for restoring pre-settlement forest structure, which is less likely to lead to devastating crown fires. Thinning methods can be costly when trees are non-merchantable and prescribed burning can be risky if fuel loadings are not reduced. Furthermore, stands that remain dense after commercial extraction can lead to undesirable wildland fire, or even prescribed fire effects to vegetation and soils. The proposed administrative study is designed to assess mechanical fuels treatment of non-merchantable trees with mastication equipment. We propose to use an experimental design to quantify relationships among mastication effort, different sized activity fuels resulting from different mastication effort, fire behavior, fire effects, soil effects, and vegetation response. We propose to test the effectiveness of different mastication efforts on fire behavior and potential soil impacts in replicated dense stands of ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir within the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests. Fuels will be measured utilizing standard methods at grid points, vegetation will be measured in four plots per stand, soil organic matter and nutrient availability will be measured at grid points, and production rates and costs will be determined for each replicated stand. The results of the study will be used to provide a management-oriented guide for developing thinning prescriptions using mastication systems and the subsequent prescribed burning. In addition, scientific publications will be published describing effects of mastication thinning and burning on fuels and fire behavior, forest vegetation, soils, and economics. The results of the study will be applicable to current management strategies on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests as well as other Forests throughout that are managing dry forest vegetation.

Principal Investigator: Richy J. Harrod

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Roger D. Ottmar

Forest Service

PNW-Seattle-Managing Natural Disturbances

Co-Principal Investigator

David W. Peterson

Forest Service

PNW-Forestry Sciences Lab-Wenatchee

Federal Cooperator

Richy J. Harrod

Forest Service

Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network


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
  go to website 4208 Website  
view or print   4250 Poster Effects of Mechanically Generated Slash Particle Size on Prescribed Fire Behavior and Subsequent Vegetation Effects
    4251 Field Demonstration/Tour  
    4252 Dataset (including spatial)  

Supporting Documents

The following supporting documents are available for this project.

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