Identifying spatially explicit reference conditions ...

Identifying spatially explicit reference conditions for forest landscapes in the Lake Tahoe Basin, USA.


The overall goal of this project is to develop a spatially explicit reconstruction of presettlement forest landscape conditions and associated fire regimes for the Lake Tahoe Basin that can be used by land managers in the ecosystem restoration planning and implementation process.


An understanding of the spatial variability in presettlement forest characteristics is essential for understanding if and how planned stand-level activities (mechanical fuel treatments, prescribed burning, etc.) scale up and contribute to restoration of functioning forest landscapes (i.e. habitat, forest health, hydrologic condition, etc.). A mismatch between the cumulative effects of stand level treatments in contemporary forests and spatial variability in presettlement vegetation patterns may fail to achieve the goal of restoring fire resilient functioning landscapes.


Specific objectives include:

1) Identify the relationship between spatial variability in presettlement forest structure (composition, density, basal area, size structure) and topographic variables in the lower and upper montane forest zones of the Lake Tahoe Basin;

2) Identify the relationships between spatial variability in fire regimes (fire return interval, season of burn) and topographic variables in the montane and upper montane zone in the Lake Tahoe Basin;

3) Develop a spatially explicit reconstruction that distributes and visually represents presettlement forest structure, forest fuels, and fire regimes for lower and upper montane forests in the Lake Tahoe Basin.



This project was supported with funding from the National Park Service and the Joint Fire Science Program

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