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Project ID: 05-2-1-26

Year: 2005

Date Started: 06/13/2005

Date Completed: 08/17/2007

Title: Fire and Forest History at Mount Rushmore National Memorial: Application and Demonstration of Fire Science

Project Proposal Abstract: Mount Rushmore National Memorial's (MORU) massive sculpture of four of the United States' most respected presidents is a national treasure. The major natural resource visitors see when viewing the Memorial is ponderosa pine forest that likely has not burned for well over a century. Fuels and forest treatments are being explored to mitigate fire hazard and restore natural variability in forest structure and processes, but these will be highly visible and under more intense scrutiny than other areas around the West. This creates both a need for a strong scientific basis for restoration efforts as well as an opportunity to highlight the use of fire science in forest and fuels management in western forests. We propose: 1) to use tree-ring and other historical data (e.g., repeat photographs) to document the historical fire regime and forest structure at MORU and how these have varied through time; 2) to model likelihood of crown fire incidence and extent in historical and current forests to gauge changes in crown fire risk and effects of potential mitigation measures; and 3) to communicate results and implications of our findings to NPS personnel, managers of similar ponderosa pine forests in the Black Hills and elsewhere, and the public. Our objectives are: 1) to document and apply historical ranges of variability in fire and forest structure as a stronger scientific basis for natural resource management at MORU; and 2) to demonstrate how a historical perspective helps to both inform and defend management decisions to the public and managers of similar ecosystems through an interpretive display, an interactive CD, a web site, workshops with NPS and other managers, and peer-reviewed publications.

Principal Investigator: Cody Wienk

Agency/Organization: NPS-National Park Service

Branch or Dept: Wind Cave National Park

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Peter M. Brown

Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research, Inc

Co-Principal Investigator

Amy J. Symstad

USGS-Geological Survey

NPWRC-Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

Federal Cooperator

Gerard Baker

NPS-National Park Service

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Southern Rockies

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
    2407 Journal Article Fire and Forest History at Mount Rushmore
    530 Invited Paper/Presentation Historical Fire and Forest Structure at Mount Rushmore and Implications for Forest Management
    531 Invited Paper/Presentation Climate and Fire Effects on Tree Recruitment in the Western US
    532 Invited Paper/Presentation The Evidence for Mixed-Severity Fire Regimes in Black Hills Ponderosa Pine Forests
    869 Invited Paper/Presentation Multi-Proxy, Multi-Century, Multi-Scale Fire and Forest Histories from Tree-Ring Data
  go to website 1050 Website  
    3546 Field Demonstration/Tour Restoration Planning Field Trip
    6909 Invited Paper/Presentation Dendroecological Evidence for Variable-Severity Fire Regimes in Ponderosa Pine Forests

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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