Extreme wildfire supersedes long-term fuel treatment influences on fuel and vegetation in chaparral ecosystems of northern CA

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Vegetation and substrate burn severity was characterized as moderate across the study site and did not differ among treatments. Contrasting with higher pre-fire shrub density in the mastication + burning treatment, 2-year post-fire live shrub density did not differ among treatments. Higher pre-fire fine woody fuel loading in the mastication treatment did not correspond to post-fire fuel loading among treatments, while the hand thinned treatment was the only treatment where fine fuel loading was not significantly reduced post-fire. Total plant species richness increased in all treatment types following wildfire, largely driven by an increase in exotic species. Native cover decreased, and exotic cover increased in oak and chaparral types, but greater exotic species cover in the mastication + burning treatment in chaparral was maintained following wildfire.

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