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Project ID: 12-1-01-20

Year: 2013

Date Started: 05/02/2013

Ending Date:  12/31/2017

Title: Long-Term Effects of Restoration Fire and Thinning on Soil Fungi, Fine Root Biomass, and Duff Levels

Project Proposal Abstract: The proposed research will help managers understand how early soil ecosystem responses to fuel reduction treatments with prescribed fire may or may not be indicative of longer term responses. This research is necessary for better establishing, in forest management plans and decision documents, the ecosystem costs and benefits of lessening the risk of stand-replacing wildfire through fire and fire surrogate (FFS) fuel reduction treatments. Early impacts of the restoration treatments at the Hungry Bob FFS research site in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon indicate that both treatments with burning (prescribed burn only, and thinned and prescribed burn) significantly reduced live root biomass, ectomycorrhizal fungal (EMF) species, and duff levels compared to the non-burned treatments (thinned only, non-thinned and non-burned). These results raise questions about whether managers can achieve the desired future condition of stands with large-tree retention and low fuel loads. EMF mortality and complete duff reduction after fire have been implicated with poor tree survival and slow stand recovery in forest ecosystems world-wide. The proposed research will extend our assessment beyond the immediate-effects stages to a period of time more meaningful to managers seeking to understand fuel reduction impacts on soil productivity. Re-measurement of EMF, fine roots, and duff in 2013 will provide information on treatment effects 15 years post-thinning and 13 years post-burning. No significant management has occurred since the stands were subjected to thinning (1998) and burning (2000), and all prior datasets are available.

Principal Investigator: Jane E. Smith

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: PNW-LWM-Land & Watershed Management-Corvallis

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Vi T. Ta

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Budget Contact

Rebecca A. Slick

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Co-Principal Investigator

Daniel L. Luoma

Oregon State University

Department of Forest Ecosystems & Society


Robyn L. Darbyshire

Forest Service

Region 6-Pacific Northwest Region


James D. McIver

Oregon State University

Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center


Andrew Youngblood

Forest Service

PNW-Forestry & Range Sciences Lab-LaGrande

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network








Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

Project Deliverables

There is no final report available for this project.
There are no deliverables available for this project.

Supporting Documents

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