Short-interval high-severity reburns change the playing field for forest recovery
Reburns, sequential overlapping fires occurring in an unusually short timeframe, are expected to become more common and widespread with increases in fire-conducive weather. The context for reburns varies by ecosystem; in subalpine forests of the Northern Rockies, high-severity fires separated by less than 30 years are considered reburns. Join researchers Kristin Braziunas (Technical University of Munich, Germany) and Tyler Hoecker (Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center) as they discuss recent studies in the Greater Yellowstone and Glacier National Park looking at post-fire recovery after short-interval reburns.
Short-interval high-severity reburns that are outside the historical range of variability of a system can erode the resilience of subalpine forests by undermining fire-adaptive traits and changing the microclimate that affects tree seedling establishment. These reburns diminish tree regeneration but could also lessen subsequent burn severity. Short-interval fire could lead to rapid, surprising changes in forest resilience during the 21st century.