Characterizing the Impact of Federal and Private Land Ownership on Post High-Severity Wildfire Forest Regeneration in the Mixed Conifer Forest of the Sierra Nevada, California.

Authors: Connor Stephens*, Clark University , Brandon Collins , University of California, Berkeley, John Rogan, Clark University
Topics: Biogeography, Environment, Remote Sensing
Keywords: Wildfire, Remote Sensing, LiDAR, Random Forests Classification
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Regency Ballroom, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Understanding the influence of forestland ownership on forest recovery after large-scale high severity fire events is essential to anticipating the impacts that they will have in the coming century. While the impacts of individual management prescriptions on high severity fire events have been studied, property ownership’s influence on their implementation and success has received less attention. This study’s objective was to examine how the management practices of two common forestland owners: US Forest Service and private forest resource company, influence recovery of forestlands impacted by severe fire events in the Mixed Conifer Forests of California’s Sierra Nevada. A remotely sensed time series analysis was used to compare forest regeneration across ownership types on forestlands impacted by the 2007 Moonlight Fire. An annual (2007-2018) linear spectral unmixing time series analysis was performed to track forest regeneration within the fire’s extent. Additionally, a classification analysis was used to compare forest structure between pre-fire (2007) and 11 year post fire (2018) conditions. Significant differences in forest regeneration were found with federally owned lands revegetating at twice the rate of those privately owned. However, federal lands largely transitioned to a shrub-dominated landcover type while privately owned lands were successfully regenerated. These results suggest that if the management goal is to quickly reestablish the presence of dominate tree species, then a management regime that heavily emphasizes seedling planting and the control of competing vegetation, such as the one implemented on the privately owned lands affected by the Moonlight Fire, should be implemented.

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