Post-fire Environment & Management
Visit symposium webpage.
- To provide an opportunity for scientists to share what they are learning or hoping to learn from recent westside Oregon fires.
- To provide an opportunity for practitioners and policy makers to begin discussions on how new discoveries can inform future decisions.
- To promote collaboration between institutions and agencies involved in post-fire research and monitoring.
Target Audience: Natural resource professionals, science providers, policy makers, and others interested in this topic.
Cost: FREE! A meeting management package will be signed by the Regional Forester to support attendance of US Forest Service employees.
The changing climate is reshaping the balance of fire and water in eastern ecosystems. Drought alters soil structure and stability; combined with intense rainfall, this impacts hydrologic dynamics. This panel will explore the interconnections between fire, nutrient cycling, ecohydrology, and climate change.
- Monday, November 14 SCIENCE x Forests: Silviculture for the present and future
A compendium of silviculture treatments for forest types in the United States: Silviculture guidance to support modeling, scenario planning, and large-scale simulations, presented by Thomas Schuler
Prescribed burning considerations following mechanical treatments, presented by Sharon Hood
Reforestation in an era of megafires: A wicked problem for the Forest Service in Region 5 and elsewhere, presented by Martin Ritchie
- Tuesday, November 15 SCIENCE x Forests: Forests and climate change
Preparing our forests for the future, presented by Mike Battaglia
The Pacific Northwest carbon dynamics research initiative: Co-production to assist land managers and policy makers, presented by Andrew Gray
Sink, swim, or surf: Surging climate change impacts and the role of climate-adaptive silviculture, presented by Alejandro Royo
- Wednesday, November 16 SCIENCE x Forests: Innovations in forest research
From the forest to the faucet: Tools and data linking surface water from forested lands to public water systems, presented by Peter Caldwell
Cloud computing advances regional old-growth forest monitoring for the Northwest Forest Plan, presented by David M Bell
What is resilience in frequent-fire forests and how can it be measured?, presented by Malcolm North
- Thursday, November 17 SCIENCE x Forests: Urban forestry, community, and wood utilization
The science and practice of urban silviculture, presented by Nancy Sonti and Rich Hallett
Expanding urban wood utilization, presented by Charlie Becker
Not by trees alone: Centering community in urban forestry, presented by Lindsay Campbell
- Friday, November 18 SCIENCE x Forests: Invasion and outbreaks in forests
Species home-making in ecosystems: Toward place-based ecological metrics of belonging, presented by Susan Cordell
Invasion and outbreak within an epidemiological model, presented by Rima Lucardi
Mapping Armillaria-killed trees with high-resolution remote sensing, presented by Benjamin Bright
A slight, gradual decline in total C and N was found with increasing temperature and heat duration, reaching a maximum loss of 14–18% of the total at the highest heat load. Available NH4 increased linearly starting at 150–175 °C and reached a maximum 15-fold increase relative to unburned soil by 450 °C. Nitrification (30-d post-fire) was low regardless of treatment and was essentially eliminated at the highest temperatures. Microbial biomass declined curvilinearly with increased heating, approaching 65% loss compared to unburned soil, and was most rapid in moist soil once temperatures exceeded 60–70 °C. Ultimately, we found no evidence of abrupt heat thresholds for these common soil properties. Instead, property changes followed a slightly declining trajectory (soil C, N, NO3, fungal hyphae) or a steady incremental increase (NH4) or decrease (microbial biomass).
Across the entire arthropod community, fire also had variable effects on community diversity. Fire tended to have a negative effect size on arthropods across life stages, but responses did vary among groups. Nearly all functional groups exhibited a negative response to fire with the exception of herbivores, for which abundance, diversity and richness increased after fire.
No combinations of salvage intensity and distribution from among the scenarios we explored were able to fully mitigate the negative effect on the bird community; however, the magnitude of declines in abundance and diversity was smaller than expected, and the majority of the species analyzed had a non-significant response. We recommend targeting salvage activities in the Sierra Nevada to those locations where snags pose a safety issue or where reforestation is most needed to conserve this fire-adapted bird community.
Ecosystems of the western United States are experiencing vegetation type conversions (VTC) in response to land-use change, climate warming, and their interactive effects with wildland fire. VTC is one of the most pressing management issues in the southwestern US, yet current strategies to intervene and address change often use trial-and-error approaches devised after the fact. This presentation discusses findings on VTC challenges, management responses, and outcomes from the collective experience of managers, scientists, and practitioners across the southwestern US.
Ecological reorganization across the region is not only extensive – it is complex, predominantly driven by high-severity wildfire. By a large margin, affected semi-arid forests convert to shrubland, while chaparral and sagebrush areas nearly always convert to non-native grasses. Management interventions in VTC areas most often attempt to reverse changes, although these efforts cover only a small portion of high-severity burn areas undergoing VTC. Efforts to facilitate VTC are rare but hold the potential to cover large spatial areas.
The presenter’s findings underscore that type conversion is a common outcome of high-severity wildland fire in the southwestern US. As the drivers increase with climate change, VTC appears increasingly likely in many ecological contexts, and may require management paradigms to transition as well.
To examine the short-term effects of wildfire on belowground processes in the northern Sierra Nevada, we collected soil samples along a gradient from unburned to high fire severity over 10 months following a wildfire. This included immediate pre- and post-fire sampling for many variables at most sites. While season and soil moisture did not substantially alter pH, microbial biomass, net N mineralization, and nitrification in unburned locations, they interacted with burn severity in complex ways to constrain N cycling after fire. In areas that burned, pH increased (at least initially) after fire, and there were non-monotonic changes in microbial biomass. Net N mineralization also had variable responses to wetting in burned locations. These changes suggest burn severity and precipitation patterns can interact to alter N cycling rates following fire.