Authors: John P. Roccaforte; Andrew Sánchez Meador; Amy E.M. Waltz; Monica L. Gaylord; Michael T. Stoddard; David W. HuffmanDegraded warm-dry mixed conifer forests have undergone changes in function, structure, and composition which have led to increased susceptibility to large, uncharacteristically severe fires and large-scale insect and disease outbreaks. Five years following the 2011 Wallow Fire, we revisited warm-dry mixed conifer forest stands treated prior to the fire (with paired untreated sites) to assess subsequent tree mortality, bark beetle activity, tree regeneration, and surface fuel accumulations. In 2016, average tree density remained significantly lower in treated compared to untreated units. Post-fire large tree density, as assessed one and five years following the fire, decreased by 28% in treated and untreated units; however, abundant hardwood ingrowth occurred throughout the affected landscape. In addition, approximately twice as many trees were attacked by bark beetles in untreated versus treated units suggesting areas treated prior to the fire may have reduced post-fire beetle activity. Following wildfire, conifer regeneration decreased and hardwood regeneration increased with higher burn severities with conifer regeneration nearly three times higher in treated units. Coarse woody debris (CWD) loadings doubled in the four years following fire, increasing from below to within desired ranges. Lastly, we will discuss implications of pre-fire treatments and forest dynamics on post-fire ecosystem resiliency and recovery.
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