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Project ID: 09-S-02-1

Year: 2009

Date Started: 06/01/2009

Date Completed: 12/06/2013

Title: Fire Rehabilitation Effectiveness: A Chronosequence Approach for the Great Basin

Project Proposal Abstract: Federal land management agencies have invested heavily in seeding vegetation for emergency stabilization and rehabilitation (ES&R) of non-forested lands over the past 10 years. ES&R projects are implemented to reduce post-fire dominance of non-native annual grasses, minimize probability of recurrent fire, and ultimately result in plant communities with desirable characteristics including resistance to invasive species and resilience or ability to recover following disturbance. Land managers lack scientific evidence to verify whether seeding non-forested lands achieves their desired long-term ES&R objectives. The overall objective of our chronosequence investigation is to determine if ES&R projects increase perennial plant cover, improve community composition, decrease invasive annual plant cover and result in a more desirable fuel structure relative to no treatment following fires. We will examine the effects of seeding treatments (drill and broadcast) vs. no seeding on abiotic and biotic responses for the dominant climactic regimes and ecological types within the region. We will determine the effects of post-treatment precipitation, post-treatment grazing level and time-since-treatment on these abiotic and biotic responses. Further, we will construct a relational model (structural equation model) to guide our analyses and to evaluate the relative effects of factors that control abiotic and biotic responses. We will revisit previous post-fire seeding projects in Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah. The recent completion of a feasibility study (Joint Fire Science Program Project Number 08-S-08) for this project concluded that there is a sufficient population of well-documented post-fire seeding treatments from which to sample and conduct a robust chronosequence analysis of treatment success for the Intermountain West. Previous seedings will be randomly sampled from this initial population in the four-state region. Sampling locations will be stratified by major land resource area, precipitation amount high (>12"), medium (8-12") and low (<8") on loam-dominated soils. Using this stratification template, 200 individual seeding treatments (100 each in broadcast and drill) will be randomly selected across approximately 150 study sites. At each treatment, we will randomly sample three burned and seeded, burned and unseeded, and unburned and unseeded locations. We will measure foliar cover of all plant functional groups (perennial or annual, shrub, grass, forb, native or introduced) and abiotic variables (bare ground and litter) using the line-point intercept protocol. Fuel loads and horizontal fuel continuity will be measured. We will apply mixed generalized linear models or generalized additive models depending on the shape of the response variable (Cover of perennial grass, shrub and invasive annual grass cover) relative to the dependent variables (seeding treatments (categorical) and precipitation/temperature relationships (continuous). Grazing factors, post-seeding weather, and time since seeding will investigated as covariates to reduce the variation in the data. We will evaluate structural equation models that allow for both latent variables and composites as appropriate. Analyses will rely primarily on covariance techniques, with Markov chain Monte Carlo procedures used for confirmation purposes. In all our analyses, we will attempt to identify relationships that managers can use in decision-making regarding seeding in ES&R projects. Scientific information generated from this project will be transferred to land managers using fact sheets, webpages, scientific and laypersons publications.

Principal Investigator: David A. Pyke

Agency/Organization: USGS-Geological Survey

Branch or Dept: FRESC-Forest & Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Matthew L. Brooks

USGS-Geological Survey

WERC-Yosemite Field Station

Co-Principal Investigator

Jeanne C. Chambers

Forest Service

RMRS-Forestry Sciences Lab-Reno

Co-Principal Investigator

James Grace

USGS-Geological Survey

National Wetlands Research Center

Co-Principal Investigator

David S. Pilliod

USGS-Geological Survey

BRD-Snake River Field Station

Federal Cooperator

David A. Pyke

USGS-Geological Survey

FRESC-Forest & Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center

Federal Fiscal Representative

Robert C. Spain

USGS-Geological Survey

FRESC-Forest & Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Great Basin






Interior West


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 3456 Journal Article Journal of Applied Ecology
view or print go to website 3457 Journal Article EcoSphere
  go to website 7413 Website Website - Fire Rehabilitation Effectiveness: A Chronosequence Approach for the Great Basin
  go to website 7414 Dataset (including spatial) Land Treatment Digital Library - Fire Rehabilitation Projects

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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