The impacts of wildfires of different burn severities on vegetation structure across the western US rangelands
High severity wildfires led to the greatest decrease in cover for all plant functional types, while low severity wildfires caused the least decrease in the functional type cover in most cases, though some variations existed. Furthermore, the impacts of wildfires on vegetation cover were greater in woody (SHR and TREE) types than in herbaceous (AFG and PFG) types. Significant negative correlation existed between percent changes in AFG and PFG cover and SPEI indicating higher prefire soil moisture conditions likely increased fine fuel loads and led to a larger decrease in AFG and PFG cover following wildfires. Significant positive correlation existed between percent changes in SHR and TREE cover and SPEI indicating drier prefire conditions resulted in larger decreases in SHR and TREE cover following wildfires.