Funded Research Projects: FOREST ECOLOGY

Studies on Biomass Combustion and Wildland Fire Effects at Different Geospatial Scales

Research Sponsored By: US Forest Service
Principal Investigator: Ernesto Alvarado
Project Description
Specific tasks for this joint venture agreement are: • To conduct an intensive analysis of pre- and post-fire tree damage on restoration prescribed fires in Eastern Washington. The evaluation will be conducted during the first two years after the burns a burn units selected for the pilot study. The sites will be monumented for monitoring for several years to evaluate secondary order mortality. • To conduct a comparative analysis and integration of fuel consumption with smoke emissions from restoration prescribed fires aimed to increase resiliency in dry forests of eastern Washington. • To investigate the effectiveness of landscape fuel treatment to reduce risk of large fires fire and fuel hazard across multiple ownerships in dry forests of eastern Washington. The study will scale up fire effects across watersheds that extend beyond a single land ownership. We will concentrate on the boundaries between federal and tribal lands. • To analyze the historical development of forests stands that burned in the large fires of the first decades of the 20th Century and again in 2015 in north central Washington and the effect of and extensive fuel treatments on those forests during most of the 20th Century. These long term historical records will be used to develop future fuel treatments to reduce negative impacts of large wildfires and reduction of smoke emissions. • To investigate the short and long term stand and environmental effects of post-fire logging from highly severe wildfires in the western US. We will analyze the biological, physical and environmental factors that created the conditions for highly sever wildfires fires and model the future pathways of forest recovery under different management and climate scenarios. • To develop silviculture prescriptions to manage fuels on forests that have been burned by large and severe large wildfires to decrease fuel and fire hazard, second order effects, and increase resiliency of future regenerated forests. • To develop protocols for rapid assessment of fuels, consumption, fire behavior, and plume dynamics for wildfires that will be monitored by FIREX, FIREChem and FASMEE projects in the western United States. • To evaluate fire growth and consumption across days and within single days, obtain mapped fire intensity (e.g., hyperspectral, IR, FPR) that is rapidly refreshed using remotely sensed methods and high resolution weather forecast models. • To investigate the use of UAVs and LIDAR to characterize in 3D for major fuel types in military reservations of the SE US for supporting support modeling of fuel consumption as related to vertical and horizontal spatial variability in fuel particle type, fuel moisture status, bulk density, and horizontal and vertical arrangement of fuel components in low-intensity surface fires. • To evaluate statistically existing field and laboratory emission factors published in the literature to be incorporated in future versions of CONSUME and fuelbeds in the Fire and Fuel Tools.