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Early Measurements of Fire Effects and Long-Term Forest Recovery After the 2016 Southern Appalachian Wildfires
3:20 PM - 3:40 PM
Tue Nov 28, 2017
Citron North


Authors: E. Louise Loudermilk; Dana Carpenter; Joseph J. O'Brien; Nina Wurzburger; J. Kevin Hiers; Steve Norman; Matthew Reilly; Elli Fowler; Derek Wallace; Benjamin S. Hornsby; Marcus Williams; Scott L. Goodrick

The Southern Appalachian forests have experienced the largest onset of wildfires in over a century. Coupling this with insects, disease, changing fire regime, and ongoing climate change creates a challenging environment for management. Conversely, understanding long-term consequences of management on these forests while they continue to change is difficult to predict. Given these recent wildfires and the indefinite future of climate-fire interactions, forest change into the next few decades are likely exceptional. Landscape simulation models can couple current knowledge with anticipated futures to project and quantify forest change. Preliminary results will be presented on tree mortality recorded within several of the 2016 wildfire areas. These data provide immediate post-fire mortality estimates across mapped burn severity classes, while continued monitoring will provide estimates on delayed mortality and recruitment. These data will be coupled with our long-term modeling study, where the goal is to better understand post-fire forest assembly in the future environment of the southern Appalachians from a stand to landscape perspective. At the stand level, we will simulate re-assembly patterns within burn severity classes among wildfires. At the landscape level, we will simulate the interactions of climate change, fire, and management using a multi-scenario approach to examine future forest dynamics.

E. Louise Loudermilk
Research Ecologist, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Center for Forest Disturbance Science

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