Zald, H.S., Dunn, C.J., 2018. Severe fire weather and intensive forest management increase fire severity in a multi-ownership landscape. Ecological Applications 28(4): 1068-1080.


Summary: The authors completed an intensive study of the 2013 Douglas Complex fire in southwestern Oregon and concluded that high biomass loads characteristic of native, old growth forests were not a major contributor to fire severity. In contrast, the authors found that intensively managed timber plantations were a significant driver because of their lack of diversity and structure.

Key excerpts:

  •  “Our findings suggest intensive plantation forestry characterized by young forests and spatially homogenized fuels, rather than pre‐fire biomass, were significant drivers of wildfire severity.”
  •  “…mean predicted RdNBR [normalized burn ratio] was higher on private industrial forests (RdNBR 521.85 ± 18.67 [mean ± SE]) vs. BLM forests (398.87 ± 18.23) with a much greater proportion of older forests.”