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Lick Creek Demonstration Site

Historic photo of Lick Creek Exp SiteThe Lick Creek Demonstration Site (LCDS) occurs on the Darby Ranger District of the Bitterroot National Forest (BNF) in western Montana. Although the area's management and research activities go back to 1906, the LCDS was only officially established in 1991 when the Intermountain Research Station and the BNF entered into a formal agreement of cooperation on innovative management and multiple use methods for various resource outputs.

Climax forest types include Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) on dry sites and grand fir (Abies grandis) on moist sites at the lower elevations. Subalpine fir (A. lasiocarpa) is common at the higher elevations. Seral species common after disturbances include ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) on dry, low-elevation sites and lodgepole pine (P. contorta) and Douglas-fir on wetter and higher elevation sites.

Ongoing Research

Past Research and Resources

Ongoing Research - 

Lick Creek Demonstration-Research Forest: 25-year fire and cutting effects on vegetation and fuels - From the abstract: In the Northern Rockies, fire-dependent ponderosa pine forests historically burned in frequent, low severity fires. Reduced wildfire occurrence has produced denser forests with increased surface and ladder fuels. Research has demonstrated short-term success of many burning, cutting, and combined treatments to restore vegetation structure and composition and minimize the occurrence of high-intensity, stand-replacing fires. However, long-term treatment effects on vegetation and fuel dynamics remain unclear. In 1991, Lick Creek was the site for manipulative experiments to explore various treatment strategies to restore ponderosa pine vegetation and reduce fuel loads. Past experiments embraced virtually the full suite of possible treatment combinations for ponderosa pine forests in this region. Lick Creek presents an opportunity to understand 25-year responses of vegetation and fuels to silviculture and prescribed fire treatments. No other study of this length exists in the Northern Rockies, and the inferential value of treatments employed at Lick Creek is very high, since the forest type is ubiquitous in the Northern Rockies and past treatments are still staples of ponderosa pine forest management.

Past Research and Resources -

Fire Effects - Plants:
Influence of fire on native nitrogen-fixing plants and soil nitrogen status in ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir forests in western Montana

Physiological responses of ponderosa pine in western Montana to thinning, prescribed fire, and burning season

Reproductive output of ponderosa pine in response to thinning and prescribed burning in western Montana

Ten-year responses of ponderosa pine growth, vigor, and recruitment to restoration treatments in the Bitterroot Mountains, Montana, USA

Fire Effects - Soils: 
Effects of selection harvest and prescribed fire on the soil nitrogen status of ponderosa pine forests

Influence of fire on native nitrogen-fixing plants and soil nitrogen status in ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir forests in western Montana

Fire History: 
80 years of change in a ponderosa pine forest

Forest fire history in the Northern Rockies

Fuels Treatments and Prescriptions:
A summary of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) management activities in the Lick Creek Drainage of the Bitterroot National Forest

Restoring fire-dependent ponderosa pine forests in western Montana