Slash compression treatment reduced tree mortality from prescribed fire in southwestern ponderosa pine

Jason L. Jerman, Peter J. Gould, Peter Z Fule

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Intensive thinning prescriptions intended to restore historic forest structure have produced heavy broadcast slash fuel loads in northwestern Arizona, sometimes leading to high tree mortality following prescribed burning. Mechanical slash compression with a D-6 bulldozer to reduce the severity of fire effects on residual trees was evaluated. Ten of 42 measured trees (24%) died within 2 years after burning of broadcast slash, and crown scorch of trees without slash compression treatment averaged 26%. In contrast, no trees died after burning of compressed slash and crown scorch averaged <3%, even though the total fuel loading was indistinguishable from the broadcast slash treatment. The practice of raking fuels away from the boles of old-growth trees also contributed to reduced scorch as compared to younger, unraked trees. Slash compression is a viable method of reducing mortality, offering ecological and economical tradeoffs. Benefits include the ability to reduce large quantities of slash, safeguarding old-growth tree survival while rapidly achieving open forest structure. Costs include paying for equipment operation as well as the possibility of damage to soils or plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-153
Number of pages5
JournalWestern Journal of Applied Forestry
Volume19
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2004

Fingerprint

slash
tree mortality
Pinus ponderosa
prescribed burning
compression
mortality
scorch
fuels (fire ecology)
tree growth
tree crown
bulldozers
fuel loading
fire severity
thinning (plants)
tree trunk
thinning
damage
cost

Keywords

  • Arizona
  • Burning
  • Ecological restoration
  • Fuel treatment
  • Ponderosa pine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Plant Science

Cite this

Slash compression treatment reduced tree mortality from prescribed fire in southwestern ponderosa pine. / Jerman, Jason L.; Gould, Peter J.; Fule, Peter Z.

In: Western Journal of Applied Forestry, Vol. 19, No. 3, 07.2004, p. 149-153.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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