Managing Sierra Nevada Forests

Managing Sierra Nevada Forests
Fire will continue to be a major management challenge in mixed-conifer forests in the Sierra Nevada. Fire is a fundamental ecosystem process in these forests that was largely eliminated in the 20th century. Fire reintroduction is a critical goal but is subject to constraints such as smoke production, risk of fire moving outside designated boundaries, the expanding wildland-urban interface, and lack of experience in burning large areas of forest. Recent fire and fuels research relevant to planning and implementing forest/fuels treatments revolve around three main topics: (1) potential limitations in the widely used Fire and Fuels Extension (FFE) module of the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS), (2) designing effective fuels treatment placement in landscapes under real world constraints, and (3) the size of high-severity burn patches in a landscape with an active mixed-severity fire regime. Although it currently may be difficult to model fire behavior in forests treated for the fine-scale structural and fuel heterogeneity suggested in U.S. Forest Service General Technical Report PSW-GTR-220, “An Ecosystem Management Strategy of Sierran Mixed-Conifer Forests” (hereafter GTR 220) (North et al. 2009a) collectively, the ideas presented may improve fuel treatment implementation and forecasting of wildfire effects on Sierran forests. There has been widespread interest in applying new forest practices based on concepts presented in U.S. Forest Service General Technical Report PSW-GTR-220,“An Ecosystem Management Strategy for Sierran Mixed-Conifer Forests.” This collection of papers (PSW-GTR-237) summarizes the state of the science insome topics relevant to this forest management approach, presents case studies of collaborative planning efforts and field implementation of these new practices, and clarifies some of the concepts presented in GTR 220. It also describes a method for assessing forest heterogeneity at the stand level using the Forest Vegetation Simulator and a new geographic information system tool for project level planning that classifies a landscape into different topographic categories. While this collection of papers presents information and applications relevant to implementation, it does not offer standards and prescriptions. Forest management should be flexible to adapt to local forest conditions and stakeholder interests. This report does, however, strive to clarify concepts and present examples that may improve communication with stakeholders and help build common ground for collaborative forest management.
the ideas presented may improve fuel treatment implementation and forecasting of wildfire effects on Sierran forests.
Begin Date
Originator Name
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region
Collaboration, Ecological Restoration, Wildfire
Resource Type
Update Frequency
None Planned
Resource Owner

To the owner of Managing Sierra Nevada Forests

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