Landscape-scale changes in canopy fuels and potential fire behaviour following ponderosa pine restoration treatments
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): John Paul Roccaforte; Peter Z. Fulé; W. Wallace Covington
Publication Year: 2008

Cataloging Information

  • Arizona
  • canopy fuel load
  • CBD - canopy bulk density
  • coniferous forests
  • crown fire
  • crown fires
  • fire management
  • FlamMap
  • forest management
  • fuel loading
  • fuel management
  • Juniperus osteosperma
  • Mt Trumbull
  • overstory
  • Pinus edulis
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • population density
  • Quercus gambelii
  • Robinia neomexicana
  • size classes
  • slash
  • statistical analysis
  • thinning
  • wind
Partner Site(s):
  • Southwest FireCLIME
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 10, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 47087
Tall Timbers Record Number: 22968
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-I
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.

Annotated Bibliography

This document is part of the Southwest FireCLIME Annotated Bibliography, which includes published research related to the interactions between climate change, wildfire, and subsequent ecosystem effects in the southwestern U.S. The publications contained in the Bibliography have each been summarized to distill the outcomes as they pertain to fire and climate. Go to this document's record in the Southwest FireCLIME Annotated Bibliography.


We evaluated canopy fuels and potential fire behaviour changes following landscape-scale restoration treatments in a ponderosa pine forest at Mt Trumbull, Arizona, USA. The goal of the project was to restore historical forest structure by thinning and burning, thereby reducing canopy fuels and minimising active crown fire potential. We measured 117 permanent plots before (1996-97) and after (2003) treatments. The plots were evenly distributed across the landscape and represented an area of ~1200 ha, about half of which was an untreated control. We compared canopy fuel estimates using three different methods to assess whether fire behaviour modelling outputs were sensitive to the choice of canopy fuel equation. Treatments decreased canopy fuel load by 43-50% from 0.77-1.83 kg m-2 to 0.44-0.91 kg m-2 (the range of values reflects the different canopy fuel equations) and decreased canopy bulk density by 42-61% from 0.038-0.172 kg m-3 to 0.022-0.067 kg m-3 in the treated area, while slight increases occurred in the control. We applied two fire models to estimate potential fire behaviour: FlamMap and NEXUS. These models differ in several important features but predicted outcomes were consistent: under extreme drought and wind conditions, the proportion of the landscape susceptible to active crown fire decreased in the treated area while little change occurred in the control.

Online Link(s):
Roccaforte, John P.; Fulé, Peter Z.; Covington, W. Wallace. 2008. Landscape-scale changes in canopy fuels and potential fire behaviour following ponderosa pine restoration treatments. International Journal of Wildland Fire 17(2):293-303.