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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #323025

Title: Rates of post-fire vegetation recovery and fuel accumulation as a function of burn severity and time-since-burn in four western U.S. ecosystems

item HUDAK, ANDY - Us Forest Service (FS)
item BRIGHT, BENJAMIN - Us Forest Service (FS)
item KENNEDY, ROBERT - Oregon State University
item LEWIS, SARAH - Us Forest Service (FS)
item STRAND, EVA - University Of Idaho
item MORGAN, PENELOPE - University Of Idaho
item Newingham, Beth

Submitted to: Fire Ecology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Abstract only.

Technical Abstract: Vegetation recovery and fuel accumulation rates following wildfire are useful measures of ecosystem resilience, yet few studies have quantified these variables over 10 years post-fire. Conventional wisdom is that recovery time to pre-fire condition will be slower as a function of burn severity, as in a dose-response relationship. We test this hypothesis across nine large wildland fires that burned with mixed severity 10-15 years ago using Landsat time series to characterize vegetation trajectories as a function of burn severity “dose” in four western U.S. ecosystems: mixed conifer (moist and dry), ponderosa pine, and chaparral. The LandTrendr approach is applied to reduce Landsat time series to measures of the date and magnitude of burn severity (i.e., dose) as well as the magnitude and duration of vegetation change (i.e., response) since disturbance. We use field data collected one year post-fire and within the past year to interpret the LandTrendr trajectories, their relationship to ground measures of tree regeneration, fuel accumulation, and plant diversity, and their utility for managers. We project recovery rates forward to predict when sites are expected to be restored to their pre-fire condition, as a function of initial burn severity, topography, climate, and vegetation type.