Volume 13 Issue 3   December 2017
Letter from the Editor 
by Bob Keane, Managing Editor

The December 2017 issue of Fire Ecology⎯volume 13, number 3⎯is now available on the journal website ( http://fireecologyjournal.org). We invite you to read about the exciting new research in this most recent issue, chock full of incredibly interesting articles.  
This issue of Fire Ecology offers an eclectic set of nine fascinating papers in many fields of fire ecology from all across the globe.  There is one short communication on whether post-fire mulching affects lodgepole regeneration.  There is also an interesting forum article that discusses the roles and views of high-severity fires in spotted owl management.  Then there are the seven research articles that cover a broad spectrum of fire issues.  One paper looks at fire trails (i.e., access trails into prescribed burn areas) on plant assemblages in Australia, while another looks at the factors governing butterfly habitat changes after prescribed fire in prairies of the Pacific Northwest, USA.  Another paper explores the growth-form responses of grassland plants to fire in South Africa.  Then there is paper on a simulation experiment that looked at the factors that controlled fire in beetle-killed stands in the US Rocky Mountains.  Fuels and tree seedling changes were evaluated on ponderosa pine forests of eastern Oregon, USA, after different burn seasons and frequencies of prescribed burns, and the recovery of the stream systems in the Dude Fire in Arizona, USA, were evaluated for changes in geomorphology and macroinvertebrate communities.  And last, the impacts of mastication on vegetation structure and composition were investigated for chaparral ecosystems of southern California, USA.  
Again, we invite you to read and enjoy these timely articles, and please send them to your friends.  We thank the Associate Editors, anonymous reviewers, webmaster Brett Cole, and copy editor Laurie Burk for all the hard work involved in delivering this high-quality, scientific journal.
  Photo by Doug Westlind

About the Cover:
Fuel reduction reburn one hour after ignition, October 2002, at the season and frequency of burn study in the Blue Mountains near Burns, Oregon, USA.

Online Reader:
Read Current and Past issues of Fire Ecology Cover-to-Cover on your computer, tablet or phone. Follow us at: issuu.com/fireecology
Author Index Online
Did you know you can search our journal by author? We have 690 authors published to date, and each year that number grows. You can search by Author, and receive contact information and a listing of all their publi cations in Fire Ecology. 
All Abstracts Are Available in Spanish!
Click on the PDF link for the abstract in Spanish.
Let's Stay in Touch!
Follow us on Twitter

Contact Us:

afe logo small transparent circle
Not yet an AFE member?  
Membership Expired?  

Join or renew your membership in this premier professional association today!

Association for Fire Ecology

The Fire Continuum Conference: Preparing for the Future of Wildland Fire

The University of Montana, Missoula
May 21-24, 2018

Once again, the Association for Fire Ecology and International Association of Wildland Fire will join forces to bring you an enlightening and innovative event!

Early Registration and the Call for Presentations are open!

Visit the conference website for program information, including workshop and field trip descriptions. 

Research Articles

Fires Following Bark Beetles: Factors Controlling Severity and Disturbance Interactions in Ponderosa Pine
Authors: Carolyn H. Sieg , Rodman R. Linn , Francois Pimont , Chad M. Hoffman , Joel D. McMillin , Judith Winterkamp , and L. Scott Baggett
Previous studies have suggested that bark beetles and fires can be interacting disturbances, whereby bark beetle-caused tree mortality can alter the risk and severity of subsequent wildland fires. However, there remains considerable uncertainty around the type and magnitude of the interaction between fires following bark beetle attacks, especially in drier forest types such as those dominated by ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Lawson & C. Lawson). We used a full factorial design across a range of factors thought to control bark beetle−fire interactions, including the temporal phase of the outbreak, level of mortality, and wind speed.

Prescribed Fire in Grassland Butterfly Habitat: Targeting Weather and Fuel Conditions to Reduce Soil Temperatures and Burn Severity
Prescribed burning is a primary tool for habitat restoration and management in fire-adapted grasslands. Concerns about detrimental effects of burning on butterfly populations, however, can inhibit implementation of treatments. Burning in cool and humid conditions is likely to result in lowered soil temperatures and to produce patches of low burn severity, both of which would enhance survival of butterfly larvae at or near the soil surface. In this study, we burned 20 experimental plots in South Puget Sound, Washington, USA, prairies across a range of weather and fuel conditions to address the potential for producing these outcomes.

Long-Term Effects of Burn Season and Frequency on Ponderosa Pine Forest Fuels and Seedlings
Prescribed fire is widely applied in western US forests to limit future fire severity by reducing tree density, fuels, and excessive seedlings. Repeated prescribed burning attempts to simulate historical fire regimes in frequent-fire forests, yet there is limited long-term information regarding optimal burn season and frequency. In addition, burns are operationally feasible only in the spring and late fall, largely outside the historical wildfire season. This study quantifies the effect of seasonal reburns on woody surface fuels, forest floor fuels, and understory tree regeneration abundance in six previously thinned ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Lawson & C. Lawson) stands in the southern Blue Mountain Ecoregion of Oregon, USA.

Fire and Floods: The Recovery of Headwater Stream Systems Following High-Severity Wildfire
This study examined the recovery of both physical and biotic characteristics of small (<0.1 m3 sec-1) headwater stream systems impacted by the Dude Fire, which occurred in central Arizona, USA, in 1990. Data collected prior to the fire from 1986 to1988 was compared to similar data collected at various points after the fire though 2011 in order to assess changes in the geomorphology and macroinvertebrate communities over the 21-year time period. Additionally, several environmental parameters of the impacted streams were compared to neighboring unburned headwater streams in order to determine recovery status.

Growth-Form Responses to Fire in Nama-Karoo Escarpment Grassland, South Africa
Fire is a rare phenomenon in the semi-arid Nama-Karoo region of South Africa, but appears to have become more common in recent years, possibly as a result of climate change. The ecological effects of fire in this vegetation are poorly understood, but are likely to involve changes in structural composition, that of the shrub−grass ratio in particular. A fire burned an area of Karoo escarpment grassland (a mixture of shrubs and grasses) on the Nuweveld Mountains in October 2013.

Ecological Impacts of Fire Trails on Plant Assemblages in Edge Habitat Adjacent to Trails
Fire trails provide access into vegetation for controlled burns in fire-prone regions of the world. We examined the ecological impacts of fire trails on plant assemblages in edge habitat adjacent to trails in eucalypt woodlands of World Heritage Blue Mountains National Park, southeastern Australia. We found that understory plant species richness, total plant density, and leaf mass per area (LMA) were significantly higher in fire-trail edge habitat than in the understory of interior woodland habitat without fire trails.

Impacts of Mastication Fuel Treatments on California, USA, Chaparral Vegetation Structure and Composition
Mechanical fuel treatments are a primary pre-fire strategy for potentially mitigating the threat of wildland fire, yet there is limited information on how they impact shrubland ecosystems. Our goal was to assess the impact of mechanical mastication fuel treatments on chaparral vegetation and to determine the extent to which they emulate early post-fire succession.

Short Communications

Do Post-Fire Mulching Treatments Affect Regeneration in Serotinous Lodgepole Pine?
Broadcast mulching is a widely implemented post-fire erosion control method, although it remains uncertain how it affects post-fire regeneration in serotinous conifers. We used field data and unbiased conditional inference trees with random effects to test if mulching affects lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud. var. latifolia Engelm. ex S. Watson) regeneration following a wildfire in northern Colorado, USA.

Forum: Issues, Management, Policy, and Opinions

Conflicting Perspectives on Spotted Owls, Wildfire, and Forest Restoration
Evidence of increasing fire extent and severity in the western US in recent decades has raised concern over the effects of fire on threatened species such as the spotted owl (Strix occidentalis Xantus de Vesey), which nests in forests with large trees and high canopy cover that are vulnerable to high-severity wildfire. A dichotomy of views exists on the impact of high-severity wildfire on the spotted owl. One view holds that reduction in the extent of forests with large trees and high canopy cover due to high-severity wildfire is a primary threat to spotted owls, and that fuels reduction treatments that successfully reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire can aid in sustaining desired conditions for this owl.