Jump to Main Content
Simulating effects of climate change and ecological restoration on fire behaviour in a south-western USA ponderosa pine forest
- Honig, Kristen A., FulÃ©, Peter Z.
- International journal of wildland fire 2012 v.21 no.6 pp. 731-742
- General Circulation Models, burning, climate, climate change, coniferous forests, ecological restoration, fire behavior, fire suppression, fire weather, greenhouse gas emissions, land use, temperature, trees, wildfires, Arizona, Australia, Germany, Kaibab National Forest
- Global climate change has the potential to affect future wildfire activity, particularly in south-western USA ponderosa pine forests that have been substantially altered by land-use practices and aggressive fire suppression. Using two regional general circulation models for the A1B greenhouse gas emission scenario, Australiaâs CSIRO:MK3 and Germanyâs MPIM:ECHAM5, we predicted fire behaviour under the 80th, 90th and 97th percentiles of future fire-weather conditions at a study site on the Kaibab National Forest, Arizona. We then altered the fuel structure by simulating alternative ecological restoration treatments: a full treatment (FULL), a full treatment with a 40.6-cm-diameter restriction on tree removal (16â³ CAP) and a full treatment with a 25.4-cm-diameter restriction on tree removal (10â³ CAP). Model results show that differences in fire weather (temperature and fuel moistures) expected by the end of the 21st century were not influential enough to alter fire behaviour significantly, but treatments did significantly reduce severe burning. Alteration of fuel structure through the 16â³ CAP and FULL ecological restoration treatments caused significant declines in fire behaviour and crown fire activity under all climate scenarios. The 10â³ CAP substantially reduced treatment effectiveness.