Category: Ecological Research
Title: Fact Sheet: Five-Year Post-Restoration Conditions and Simulated Climate Change Trajectories in a Warm-Dry Mixed-Conifer Forest, Southwestern Colorado,USA
Author: * Stoddard, M.T.
Subject: Climate Change, Restoration
Abstract: Wildfire frequency and severity in the western United States has increased as a result of fire suppression, increasing tem-perature, and prolonged drought. Detrimental ecological im-pacts from these uncharacteristic disturbances include loss of critical wildlife habitat, increased vulnerability to invasive plant species, ecosystem shifts from forest to non-forest. Warm/dry mixed conifer forests were historically dominated by fire-resistant tree species and low-severity fire regimes. Management in these dry coniferous forests has primarily focused on thinning smaller trees followed by prescribed fire to reduce wildfire severity, restore forest structure and in-crease resiliency across landscapes. Evaluating treatment effectiveness in terms of reducing wildfire severity and eco-logical responses is a flourishing topic. However, there is limited information on the longevity of these treatments, spe-cifically with respect to their effectiveness in maintaining ecosystem integrity, such as composition, structure, and function (Tierney et al. 2009), and increasing resilience to disturbances under future climate conditions. In this study, we field tested alternative treatments (thin plus burn, burn-only, and control) for restoring a warm/dry mixed-conifer forests and then simulated stand dynamics under various future climate scenarios over the next 50 years. Mixed-conifer forests provide unique habitats for rare species, valuable biodiversity, and numerous recreational oppor-tunities. Recent landscape-scale fires (e.g., Rodeo-Chediski Fire , Hayman Fire , Las Conchas fire , and Wallow Fire ) have burned large severe patches, compromising the integrity of these ecosystems.
Type: Fact Sheet
Source: ERI - Fact Sheet
Publisher: Ecological Restoration Institute