International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Evaluation of a post-fire tree mortality model for western USA conifers

Sharon M. Hood A C , Charles W. McHugh A , Kevin C. Ryan A , Elizabeth Reinhardt A and Sheri L. Smith B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, 5775 US Highway 10 W, Missoula, MT 59808, USA.

B Forest Health Protection, Region 5, Northeastern California Shared Service Area, Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture, 2550 Riverside Drive, Susanville, CA 96130, USA.

C Corresponding author. Email: shood@fs.fed.us

International Journal of Wildland Fire 16(6) 679-689 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF06122
Submitted: 16 September 2006  Accepted: 4 April 2007   Published: 17 December 2007

Abstract

Accurately predicting fire-caused mortality is essential to developing prescribed fire burn plans and post-fire salvage marking guidelines. The mortality model included in the commonly used USA fire behaviour and effects models, the First Order Fire Effects Model (FOFEM), BehavePlus, and the Fire and Fuels Extension to the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FFE-FVS), has not been tested with independently collected post-fire tree mortality data. The model predicts mortality for a wide range of conifer species based on crown scorch and species-specific bark thickness. We evaluated the mortality model on 13 western USA conifers: subalpine fir, red fir, white fir, Douglas-fir, incense cedar, western larch, western hemlock, Engelmann spruce, whitebark pine, lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, and sugar pine. Predicted stand-level mortality was within ±20% of observed mortality for all species except incense cedar, western larch, red fir, and western hemlock. Individual tree mortality prediction was most accurate for subalpine fir, incense cedar, ponderosa pine, and Jeffrey pine. Evaluation of the model provides managers with an accuracy assessment for estimating the probability of mortality for the majority of western USA conifers when using the mortality model to make land management decisions.A

Additional keywords: BehavePlus, FFE-FVS, FOFEM, model accuracy, prescription, salvage, tree survival.


Acknowledgements

Our work includes the efforts of the many people who collected a huge body of post-fire tree injury and mortality data over the past 20 years. Without their cooperation and willingness to share data from numerous studies, this work could not have been accomplished. We thank Rudy King for providing a statistical review of our methods. The comments of two anonymous reviewers, Mark Finney, Michael Harrington, and Thomas Kolb greatly improved this manuscript. The Joint Fire Science Program funded this research (05-2-1-105).


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A The use of trade or firm names in the present paper is for reader information and does not imply endorsement by the US Department of Agriculture of any product or service. This paper was written and prepared by US Government employees on official time, and therefore is in the public domain and not subject to copyright.


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