Quaking aspen’s influence on fire occurrence, behavior, and severity: A Tamm review

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Here, we synthesized literature and conducted a survey of forest and fire managers to assess current understanding of how fire interacts with aspen stands, as well as to examine possible factors that influence fire occurrence, behavior, and severity in aspen communities. We found evidence that the presence of aspen reduces fire occurrence, fire behavior, and fire severity, but this effect is dependent on many factors, including the percentage of aspen vs conifers in the overstory, load and type of understory fuels, weather, and season. We did not find any quantitative management guidelines on how to create, maintain, or use aspen stands to reduce fire risk. The large gap between “common knowledge” and empirical evidence regarding aspen’s ability to inhibit fire requires further research.

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