skip to main content

Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1738104

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Infrequent stand-replacing wildfires are characteristic of mesic and/or cool conifer forests in western North America, where forest recovery within high-severity burn patch interiors can be slow, yet successful over long temporal periods (decades to centuries). Increasing fire frequency and high-severity burn patch size, under a warming climate, however, may challenge post-fire forest recovery, promoting landscape-level shifts in forest structure, composition, and distribution of non-forest patches. Crucial to a delay and/or impediment to this shift, fire refugia (i.e., remnant seed sources) may determine forest recovery trajectories and potential forest state-transitions. To examine how fire refugia attributes (i.e. extent, composition, and structure) interact with local climate and environmental conditions to determine post-fire forest recovery responses, we developed fine-grain maps of fire refugia via remote sensing and conducted field-based assessment of post-fire conifer tree establishment largely originating (i.e., dispersed) from fire refugium in the Central Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest United States. We found that limitations on seed availability, represented by the distance 2 -weighted density (D 2 WD) of fine-grain refugia extent, largely explained post-fire tree establishment responses within our relatively mesic and cool subalpine study sites. Interactions between seed availability, climate, and environmental conditions indicated that the structural attributes ofmore »refugia (e.g., tree height) and site abiotic/biotic environmental controls (e.g., climate water deficit, canopy cover, and coarse woody debris cover) interplayed to constrain or enhance species-specific tree establishment responses. Importantly, these interactions illustrate that when seed availability is critically low for a given area, climate-environment conditions may strongly determine whether forests recover following fire(s). Toward modelling and predicting tree establishment responses and potential forest state-transitions after large stand-replacing fires(s), our study demonstrates the importance of accurately quantifying seed availability via the fine-grain extent, configuration, and attributes of remnant seed source legacies.« less
  2. The unprecedented size of the 2017 wildfires that burned nearly 600,000 hectares of central Chile highlight a need to better understand the climatic conditions under which large fires develop. Here we evaluate synoptic atmospheric conditions at the surface and free troposphere associated with anomalously high (active) versus low (inactive) months of area burned in south-central Chile (ca. 32–41° S) from the Chilean Forest Service (CONAF) record of area burned from 1984–2018. Active fire months are correlated with warm surface temperatures, dry conditions, and the presence of a circumpolar assemblage of high-pressure systems located ca. 40°–60° S. Additionally, warm surface temperatures associated with active fire months are linked to reduced strength of cool, onshore westerly winds and an increase in warm, downslope Andean Cordillera easterly winds. Episodic warm downslope winds and easterly wind anomalies superimposed on long-term warming and drying trends will continue to create conditions that promote large fires in south-central Chile. Identifying the mechanisms responsible for easterly wind anomalies and determining whether this trend is strengthening due to synoptic-scale climatic changes such as the poleward shift in Southern Hemisphere westerly winds will be critical for anticipating future large fire activity in south-central Chile.
  3. Characterizing wildfire regimes where wildfires are uncommon is challenged by a lack of empirical information. Moreover, climate change is projected to lead to increasingly frequent wildfires and additional annual area burned in forests historically characterized by long fire return intervals. Western Oregon and Washington, USA (westside) have experienced few large wildfires (fires greater than 100 hectares) the past century and are characterized to infrequent large fires with return intervals greater than 500 years. We evaluated impacts of climate change on wildfire hazard in a major urban watershed outside Portland, OR, USA. We simulated wildfire occurrence and fire regime characteristics under contemporary conditions (1992–2015) and four mid-century (2040–2069) scenarios using Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5. Simulated mid-century fire seasons expanded in most scenarios, in some cases by nearly two months. In all scenarios, average fire size and frequency projections increased significantly. Fire regime characteristics under the hottest and driest mid-century scenarios illustrate novel disturbance regimes which could result in permanent changes to forest structure and composition and the provision of ecosystem services. Managers and planners can use the range of modeled outputs and simulation results to inform robust strategies for climate adaptation and risk mitigation.