Restoring recreational and residential forests
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): J. Scott
Editor(s): C. C. Hardy; S. F. Arno
Publication Year: 1996

Cataloging Information

  • fine fuels
  • fire exclusion
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire suppression
  • forest management
  • fuel loading
  • logging
  • needles
  • pine forests
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • Pseudotsuga
  • Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • recreation
  • site treatments
  • thinning
  • trees
  • understory vegetation
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: August 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 38258
Tall Timbers Record Number: 12825
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: A13.88:INT-341
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


From the Introduction...'Several decades of fire suppression following logging around the turn-of-the-century has produced dense, even-age stands of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). They contrast with the original forests where frequent, low-intensity fires gave rise to open, parklike, and often uneven-age stands of ponderosa pine. Forests in current conditions are prone to insect infestations, disease outbreaks, and severe wildfires. As residential development and recreational use of this forest type continues to increase, the need for low-impact treatments for mitigating the wildfire, insect, and disease hazards likewise increases. Some forest managers have developed ‘ecosystem management’ treatments such as thinning coupled with prescribed burning to address these concerns. However, special considerations must be made in treating high-value forest land like recreation areas and private home sites. This paper emphasizes silvicultural and harvesting concerns with some additional comments on the use of prescribed burning. Residential and recreational forests are valuable largely because of their aesthetic appeal, so any proposed treatment must consider the preservation or improvement of aesthetic quality. Forest managers have been concerned with the visual quality of forest treatments for quite some time now. However, their concern has generally concentrated on distant views, like those of a mountainside from a town or highway. By contrast, visual quality concerns in residential and recreational forests occur at a finer scale - within a stand of trees, along a trail, in a picnic area, or at a rural home site.' From the Prescribed Burning...'Appropriate use or non-use of fire is usually a sensitive consideration in undertaking restoration of a residential or recreational forest. The ponderosa pine type produces large quantities of highly flammable fine fuels (pine needles) each year, and this forest can burn under dry conditions from early spring through autumn. Prescribed burning, after high initial fuel loadings have been reduced by other means, has several advantages from an ecological viewpoint (Arno and Harrington, this proceedings). Prescribed fire is often used to help maintain ponderosa pine forests in public recreation areas, but such burning is uncommon in residential areas because of the higher values at risk and a dislike of the initial visual effects of an underburn. Applying an underburn in a tract of forest near a home clearly requires professional planning, equipment, and execution, but that may be available through insured prescribed fire consultants perhaps aided by cooperating volunteer fire districts.' From the Conclusions...'The forester has many considerations to make when designing a forest restoration treatment in a recreational or residential setting. Fortunately, there are existing silvicultural tools and unique low-impact harvest methods available for restoring forests in an aesthetically sensitive manner.'

Scott, J. 1996. Restoring recreational and residential forests, in Hardy, C. C. and Arno, S. F., The use of fire in forest restoration: a general session at the annual meeting of the Society for Ecological Restoration. Seattle, WA. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station,Ogden, UT. p. 44-45,General Technical Report INT-341.