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Project ID: 11-1-2-12

Year: 2011

Date Started: 08/01/2011

Ending Date:  12/31/2014

Title: Fuel Loads, Invasive Species, and Post-Fire and Post-Mastication Succession in Chaparral Shrublands

Project Proposal Abstract: This proposal continues work done previously from a funded JFS project titled 'Fire hazard reduction in chaparral using diverse treatments' (PI Scott Stephens, project funded in 2001). The earlier project was completed on schedule and three journal publications have been produced with one more currently under development. This proposal takes advantage of a robust scientific experiment in chaparral to investigate shrub and grass fuel loads and post fire and a post mastication succession from treatments that were installed in 2001-2002. Fuel management techniques are commonly used in shrublands to reduce wildfire risk. However more information is needed on the post fire responses of prescribed fire and mastication, particularly at longer temporal scales (8-12 years). In an effort to address this need I propose to use a replicated (4 replicates per treatment) 120 acre (48 ha) experiment in northern California chaparral dominated by Adenostoma fasciculatum (chamise) to determine the effects of two fuel reduction types and three different seasons of treatment on shrub cover, height, fuel loads, and non-native plant density. Exclosures (2.5 m2 each) will also be used to assess browsing effects. Chaparral live and dead fuel loads will be determined in all treatments units with a new, non-destructive pole-contact method developed for northern California chaparral. The objective of this study is to examine shrub and grass fuel loads and production along a post fire and post mastication successional response from a replicated experiment that was installed from 2001-2002. This experiment contains the most common fuel treatments in chaparral including a) fall prescribed fire, b) winter prescribed fire, c) spring prescribed fire, d) fall mastication, e) spring mastication, and f) controls. In our research, we address six important questions: 1) Does fuel treatment type and/or season affect sprouting shrub cover and fuel loads, 2) Does fuel treatment type and/or season affect shrub seedling survival, 3) Does herbivory affect sprouting and seeding species recovery after treatments, 4) Do fuel reduction treatments effect invasive species density, 5) Do mechanically treated areas have lower standing dead fuels than those treated by prescribed fire, and 6) How have the experimental ecosystems changed in the last 7 years (quantify succession) Hypotheses tested include that there will a difference in shrub fuel loads between mechanical and prescribed fire treatments 10 years after treatment, that the initial observed increase in invasive grass species will have declined in the mechanically treated units as shrub cover has increased, that differences in regeneration life history strategies (re-sprouter versus obligate seeder) will still affect post treatment community composition 10 years after treatments, and compared to controls, treated chaparral will have lower dead and live fuel loads 10 years after treatments. Information from this study should be useful to managers and ecologists interested in shrubland ecosystems. Expected benefits are to quantify the successional responses and non-native plant abundance of the most commonly used chaparral fuel treatments at approximately 10 years after treatment (our first papers documented the initial responses (2-3 years) of the treatments). This will include fuel loads that will be used to inform fuel model selection for our diverse treatments. Information from this study can be used by managers to forecast vegetation succession and potential fire behavior in one of the most common shrubland vegetation type in California; California chaparral occupies 6% of the states land area and contains one-quarter of the states native vascular plant species.

Principal Investigator: Scott L. Stephens

Agency/Organization: University of California-Berkeley

Branch or Dept: Department of Environmental Sciences-Policy & Management


Other Project Collaborators

Type

Name

Agency/Organization

Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Ryan F. Bennetts

University of California-Berkeley

Sponsored Projects Office

Agreements Contact

Patricia A. Gates

University of California-Berkeley

Sponsored Projects Office

Budget Contact

Dary S. Hong

University of California-Berkeley

Forestry & Natural Resources


Project Locations

Consortium

California


Level

State

Agency

Unit

STATE

CA

BLM

Ukiah Field Office


Project Deliverables

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

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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