Fire and fire surrogates

The Fire and Fire Surrogates project at Blodgett Experimental Forest is one of the longest running prescribed fire experiments in the western US.

I had the great opportunity while doing my master’s thesis to work with a new round of Fire-Fire Surrogate (FFS) study data. We looked at the effects of fuel treatments - prescribed fire, mechanical thinning and mastication, and a combination fire+mechanical treatment - on carbon stocks and wildfire hazard. We found that the carbon benfits of fuel treatments are contingent on the likelihood of wildfire ocurring, and the time horizon considered for evaluating carbon stocks. The resulting paper is published in Ecosphere:

Foster, Daniel E., et al. “Potential wildfire and carbon stability in frequent‐fire forests in the Sierra Nevada: trade‐offs from a long‐term study.” Ecosphere 11.8 (2020): e03198.

Wrangling and integrating data from a 20-plus year study was no small task, but it has been enormously valuable in aiding further research. I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate on several other papers using these data:

Stepehens, S., and Foster, D., et al. “Forest restoration and fuels reduction work: Different pathways for achieving success in the Sierra Nevada.” Ecological Applications (2023).

Levine, Jacob I., et al. “Forest stand and site characteristics influence fuel consumption in repeat prescribed burns.” International Journal of Wildland Fire (2020).

Hatch, Lindsay E., et al. “Highly speciated measurements of terpenoids emitted from laboratory and mixed-conifer forest prescribed fires.” Environmental Science & Technology (2019).

Dudney, Joan, et al. “Overstory removal and biological legacies influence long-term forest management outcomes on introduced species and native shrubs.” Forest Ecology and Management 491 (2021): 119149.

York, R., et al. “Silviculture can facilitate repeat prescribed burn programs with long-term strategies.” California Agriculture 75.3 (2022): 104-111.