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Project ID: 06-2-1-59

Year: 2006

Date Started: 07/28/2006

Date Completed: 10/02/2009

Title: Fire and Fuel Management in Coast Redwood

Project Proposal Abstract: Fire and fuels management in California's coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests is limited by our poor understanding of reference conditions. In other forest types, knowledge of historic fire regimes, forest structure, composition and fuels has empowered managers by providing them with evidence of change caused by past management. For some land allocations, reference conditions provide a range of structural, compositional or disturbance objectives to manage toward. Evidence of long-term change is especially important in forest ecosystems where trees can live for over a millennium, as is the case with coast redwood. Despite the importance of reference conditions for modern forest management, the science surrounding reference conditions in coast redwood is controversial and managers have as many questions as answers about the processes needed to sustain their forests. Markedly different methods have been used to interpret fire history and strong local and regional environmental gradients preclude simple generalizations across the forest type. The frequent fires reported from the southern and dryer part of the redwood zone may not be representative of the wetter northern portion of the coast redwood range, where the most spectacular forests occur. Moreover, due to the paucity of lightning ignitions in the northern coast redwood zone, historical fire regimes may have been largely an artifact of anthropogenic ignitions. If so, this coast redwood vegetation type may not require fire to persist in an acceptable state. This possible ignition-dependence of fires in portions of the coast redwood range raises management and public concerns about the ecological relevance of historical fire regimes. Recent wildfires in old and second growth coast redwood have demonstrated that a more sound understanding of historical reference conditions is urgent. This proposal will support reconstructions of fire history in a portion of the coast redwood range where managers need it the most. It will integrate this research and other existing data to develop a GIS-based reference conditions model that provides information at a scale needed for local decision making.

Principal Investigator: Steven P. Norman

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: SRS-Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Ctr

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Leonel Arguello

NPS-National Park Service

Redwood National and State Parks

Co-Principal Investigator

Stephen Underwood


State Parks-North Coast Redwoods District

Co-Principal Investigator

Morgan J. Varner III

Forest Service

PNW-AirFire Research Team

Federal Cooperator

Bill Pierce

NPS-National Park Service

Redwoods National and State Parks

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
view or print go to website 2377 Journal Article Forest Ecology and Management
view or print go to website 166 MS Thesis Structure of Downed Woody and Vegetative Detritus in Old-Growth Sequoia sempervirens Forests (B. Graham)
view or print   386 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Fire and Fuels Management in Coast Redwoods
view or print   391 Photo Alluvial Flat of Montgomery Woods State Nature Reserve
view or print   393 Photo Fire Scars from a Coast Redwood Tree Killed by the Canoe Fire in Humboldt Redwoods State Park
  go to website 2534 Website Comprehensive website regarding fire and other disturbances in coast redwood forests
    4472 Field Demonstration/Tour Field Tour of Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park Fire History Sites
    3817 Poster Characterizing Coast Redwood Fire Regimes and Management Tradeoffs Along Complex Spatial Gradients

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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