Fire Regimes and Forest Structure ...

Fire Regimes and Forest Structure of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas


PI: Alan Taylor


National Park Service policy directs managers to maintain conditions that evolved with natural processes as opposed to conditions that are associated with human action. In mixed conifer forests in Guadalupe National Park 20th century fire suppression has caused an increase in forest density, an increase in live and dead forest fuels, an increase in fire sensitive species, and an increase in severe fire behavior. Mixed conifer forests in Guadalupe Mountains National Park occur mainly in designated wilderness where prescribed fire is one of the only tools available for forest restoration work.


The project goal is to develop fire regime and forest structural reference conditions for prescribed fire managers aiming to both reduce fuels and restore forests to more natural condition.


Specific objectives are to:

1) quantify pre fire suppression and contemporary forest characteristics (species composition, basal area, density, size and age structure) at both the plot and landscape scale;

2) quantify fire regimes (frequency, return interval, size, severity, season, fire rotation) for the pre-settlement, settlement, and fire suppression periods;

3) quantify spatial and temporal variation in fire regimes and forest structure with respect to topography and forest composition.



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

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