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Project ID: 13-3-01-35

Year: 2013

Date Started: 06/01/2013

Date Completed: 01/04/2017

Title: Mixed-Severity Fire and Salvage Logging in Dry Forests of Oregon

Project Proposal Abstract: Because forests of western North America play a key role in the terrestrial carbon cycle, it is increasingly important to quantify their responses to fire and fuels management, including feedbacks with climate change. Despite increased research attention, significant knowledge gaps exist regarding the effects of mixed-severity fire and salvage logging on carbon storage in forests of Oregons Western Cascades, especially when considering rates of ecosystem productivity. Salvage logging and reforestation has been proposed as a way to increase carbon sequestration rates and reduce carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. However, we currently lack comprehensive knowledge about differences in carbon storage in natural and salvaged post-fire stands, and how post-disturbance carbon dynamics are related to fire severity, fuels treatments and climate change. Investigating temporal trends in early forest succession following fire and salvage logging is critical to understanding carbon dynamics in forested landscapes over time. This research focuses on the southern extent of Oregons western hemlock/Douglas-fir forests on the Middle Fork Ranger District of Willamette National Forest and Umpqua National Forest. Sampling is constrained to mature or old-growth western hemlock/Douglas-fir forests at the time of fire. This forest type represents the dominant forest condition proposed for salvage logging in this region. Additionally, focusing on natural disturbance impacts of intact, old-growth forests provides insights into natural disturbance processes that historically impacted this landscape and resulted in old-growth forest conditions existing today. My established sampling protocol includes intensive, nested plots designed to quantify forest structure, carbon pools, and ecosystem productivity. The plot design is an intensified Forest Inventory and Analysis 1-ha circular plot consisting of 6 plots with 4-nested subplots and five fuels transects. The plots are stratified across a low, moderate and high burn severity gradient and include salvaged sites. I have currently sampled sites 4-5 and 10 years post-fire. I am proposing to extend this research to fires that occurred 22-24 years ago, allowing me to sample forest recovery at a critical time when this forest type is at or near canopy closure, the end of a highly dynamic stage of succession. My field data will be analyzed for temporal trends during early forest succession, but will be extended using existing process models. My data will be used to parameterize the STANDCARB model for projections across longer temporal scales. STANDCARB is an ecosystem process model that projects carbon accumulation and emission over several hundred years of stand development. The new data I collect as a result of funding from this proposal will go directly into my PhD dissertation. As I write my dissertation, I intend on submitting manuscripts to top-tier journals. Since I am working with the Willamette and Umpqua National Forests, I look forward to presenting my results to them, and this will also be an ideal opportunity to develop a General Technical Report with the co-located study on Willamette National Forest to foster collaboration among forest managers and researchers. Additionally, I plan on presenting my results at national and international conferences to facilitate knowledge dissemination. My current and proposed research directly addresses two of the four GRIN topics: fuel management effectiveness/effects and climate change/fire effects although I have submitted this proposal under climate/fire effects.

Principal Investigator: Christopher J. Dunn

Agency/Organization: Oregon State University

Branch or Dept: Department of Forest Engineering, Resources, and Management

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Patricia A. Hawk

Oregon State University

Office of Sponsored Programs

Budget Contact

Kim A. Calvery

Oregon State University

Office of Post Award Administration

Co-Principal Investigator

John D. Bailey

Oregon State University


Funding Cooperator

John D. Bailey

Oregon State University


Student Investigator

Christopher J. Dunn

Oregon State University

Department of Forest Engineering, Resources, and Management

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network









Willamette National Forest




Umpqua National Forest

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   123 Ph.D. Dissertation Mixed-Seveirty Fire Effects on Biological Legacies and Vegetation Response in Pseudotsuga Forests
view or print   3738 Journal Article Forest Ecology and Management

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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