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Project ID: 14-1-02-5

Year: 2014

Date Started: 08/01/2014

Date Completed: 08/30/2017

Title: Long-term impacts of wildfire on fuel loads, vegetation composition, and potential fire behavior and management in sagebrush-dominated ecosystems

Project Proposal Abstract: In a recent JFSP-funded synthesis of the effects of fire in the Great Basin, Miller et al. (2013) stated that largest gaps in our understanding of sagebrush dominated ecosystems were 1) a lack of long-term fire studies (>10 years) and 2) studies that evaluated the effects of repeated burns. This proposed study will directly address both of these gaps. By conducting four parallel field and fire modeling experiments, we propose to quantify the long term influence of past fires (12-30 years) on fuel loads, vegetation composition, and subsequent wildfire behavior, effects, and management in the three dominant big sagebrush ecosystems of the Northern Great Basin and Columbia Plateau. We will sample long term and repeated effects of fires in Wyoming big sage, basin big sage, and mountain big sagebrush communities. We will then use spatial fire modeling techniques to identify where past fires have altered fuel loads such that the potential for future fire is impacted, and how long following fire these impacts remain. In each sagebrush community, we have located previously burned sites where prefire composition, fuels, and fire behavior data were previously collected. Together, these experiments determine how past wildfires of differing ages and cover types influence patterns of fuels recovery and the potential for additional fire in the sagebrush steppe.

Principal Investigator: Lisa M. Ellsworth

Agency/Organization: Oregon State University

Branch or Dept: Department of Fisheries & Wildlife

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Patricia A. Hawk

Oregon State University

Office of Sponsored Programs

Budget Contact

Patricia A. Hawk

Oregon State University

Office of Sponsored Programs

Co-Principal Investigator

John B. Kauffman

Oregon State University

Department of Fisheries & Wildlife


David Dobkin

High Desert Ecological Research Institute


John W Kasbohm

FWS-Fish and Wildlife Service

Lower Suwannee NWR


Ricardo R. Mata-Gonzalez

Oregon State University

Department of Rangeland and Ecosystem Management


Eugenie M. MontBlanc

University of Nevada-Reno

Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Science


William H. Pyle

FWS-Fish and Wildlife Service

Kodiak NWR


Thomas J. Rodhouse

NPS-National Park Service

Pacific West Regional Office


David B. Sapsis


CAL Fire-Forestry & Fire Protection-Sacramento Headquarters


David W. Wrobleski

Forest Service

Lolo National Forest

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Great Basin






Interior West



Pacific Coast States


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   3736 Journal Article Ecosphere
view or print go to website 358 MS Thesis Long-term Fuel Succession in the Sagebrush-steppe
view or print   7926 Final Report Summary Final Report Summary

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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