Fuel treatment effects on tree-based forest carbon storage and emissions under modeled wildfire scenarios

Matthew Hurteau, Malcolm North

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

126 Scopus citations

Abstract

Forests are viewed as a potential sink for carbon (C) that might otherwise contribute to climate change. It is unclear, however, how to manage forests with frequent fire regimes to maximize C storage while reducing C emissions from prescribed burns or wildfire. We modeled the effects of eight different fuel treatments on treebased C storage and release over a century, with and without wildfire. Model runs show that, after a century of growth without wildfire, the control stored the most C. However, when wildfire was included in the model, the control had the largest total C emission and largest reduction in live-tree-based C stocks. In model runs including wildfire, the final amount of tree-based C sequestered was most affected by the stand structure initially produced by the different fuel treatments. In wildfire-prone forests, tree-based C stocks were best protected by fuel treatments that produced a low-density stand structure dominated by large, fire-resistant pines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-414
Number of pages6
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Volume7
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

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