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Project ID: 17-2-01-6

Year: 2017

Date Started: 07/01/2017

Ending Date:  12/31/2018

Title: Drought resilience under restored fire regimes: Which stand structures, site conditions, and fire histories lower tree mortality?

Project Proposal Abstract: Tree mortality in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California is occurring at an unprecedented rate following extended drought, pathogen activity, and large fires. This mortality includes the loss of species and sizes classes typically thought to be fire tolerant that are often the focus of retention efforts in regional forest management. Fuels treatments to date may not have sufficiently established the tree densities and spatial patterns need to promote not only fire-, but drought-resilience as well. Fire-resilience is generally known to be a product of fire history, stand structure, and site characteristics. Little is known, however, about the specific spatial arrangement of stems and/or site conditions most closely associated with lower drought mortality in fire resilient forests. We propose to leverage a plot network established for previous research in order to explicitly quantify relationships between tree mortality and a suite of potential contributing factors (e.g. fire history, stand structure, and site characteristics) under drought stress. We will census for mortality, radial growth, and pathogen infestation across 36 large plots with restored fire regimes, and relate these to within-stand spatial structure and species composition data from stem maps. We will analyze mortality across these factors, and rank which factor combinations correlate most strongly with overstory mortality under long-term drought. This work will help to clarify which ecological processes and site characteristics are relevant to drought mortality in frequent-fire forests. Our results can provide managers with better site-adapted metrics for treating forests for both fuels objectives and drought resilience, and for varying prescriptions by stand conditions and topography.

Principal Investigator: Malcolm P. North

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: PSW-Sierra Nevada Research Center

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Ahmad H. Hakim-Elahi

University of California-Davis

Board of Regents

Budget Contact

Ahmad H. Hakim-Elahi

University of California-Davis

Board of Regents

Student Investigator

Jan Ng

University of California-Davis

Ecology Graduate Group

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network









Yosemite National Park

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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