An ecosystem management strategy for Sierran mixed-conifer forests
Document Type: Report
Author(s): Malcolm P. North; Peter A. Stine; Kevin L. O'Hara; William J. Zielinski; Scott L. Stephens
Publication Year: 2009

Cataloging Information

  • climate change
  • ecosystem restoration
  • forest heterogeneity
  • forest resilience
  • mixed-conifer forest
  • Sierra Nevada
  • topographic variability
  • wildfire
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: March 24, 2016
FRAMES Record Number: 12373


Current Sierra Nevada forest management is often focused on strategically reducing fuels without an explicit strategy for ecological restoration across the landscape matrix. Summarizing recent scientific literature, we suggest managers produce different stand structures and densities across the landscape using topographic variables (i.e., slope shape, aspect, and slope position) as a guide for varying treatments. Local cool or moist areas, where historically fire would have burned less frequently or at lower severity, would have higher density and canopy cover, providing habitat for sensitive species. In contrast upper, southern-aspect slopes would have low densities of large fire-resistant trees. For thinning, marking rules would be based on crown strata or age cohorts and species, rather than uniform diameter limits. Collectively, our management recommendations emphasize the ecological role of fire, changing climate conditions, sensitive wildlife habitat, and the importance of forest structure heterogeneity.

Online Link(s):
North, Malcolm; Stine, Peter; O'Hara, Kevin; Zielinski, William; Stephens, Scott. 2009. An ecosystem management strategy for Sierran mixed-conifer forests. General Technical Report PSW-GTR-220 (Second printing, with addendum). Albany, CA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 49 p.