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Impacts of fire radiative flux on mature Pinus ponderosa growth and vulnerability to secondary mortality agents

Author(s): Aaron M. Sparks, Alistair M. S. Smith, Alan F. Talhelm, Crystal A. Kolden, Kara M. Yedinak, Daniel M. Johnson
Year Published: 2017
Description:

Recent studies have highlighted the potential of linking fire behaviour to plant ecophysiology as an improved route to characterising severity, but research to date has been limited to laboratory-scale investigations. Fine-scale fire behaviour during prescribed fires has been identified as a strong predictor of post-fire tree recovery and growth, but most studies report these metrics averaged over the entire fire. Previous research has found inconsistent effects of low-intensity fire on mature Pinus ponderosa growth. In this study, fire behaviour was quantified at the tree scale and compared with post-fire radial growth and axial resin duct defences. Results show a clear dose-response relationship between peak fire radiative power per unit area (W m-2) and post-fire Pinus ponderosa radial growth. Unlike in previous laboratory research on seedlings, there was no dose-response relationship observed between fire radiative energy per unit area (J m-2) and post-fire mature tree growth in the surviving trees. These results may suggest that post-fire impacts on growth of surviving seedlings and mature trees require other modes of heat transfer to impact plant canopies. This study demonstrates that increased resin duct defence is induced regardless of fire intensity, which may decrease Pinus ponderosa vulnerability to secondary mortality agents.

Citation: Aaron M. Sparks, Alistair M. S. Smith, Alan F. Talhelm, Crystal A. Kolden, Kara M. Yedinak, Johnson, Daniel M. 2017. Impacts of fire radiative flux on mature Pinus ponderosa growth and vulnerability to secondary mortality agents. International Journal of Wildland Fire 26(1): 95-106.
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Ecological - Second Order, Plants, Effects Monitoring
Ecosystem(s): Montane wet mixed-conifer forest, Montane dry mixed-conifer forest
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 14915
FRAMES RCS number: 23108
Record updated: Feb 2, 2017