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Title: An experimental burn to restore a moth-killed boreal conifer forest, Krasnoyarsk Region, Russia
Author: Valendik, E.N.; Brissette, J.C.; Kisilyakhov, Ye. K.; Lasko, R.J.; Verkhovets, S.V.; Eubanks, S.T.; Kosov, I.V.; Lantukh, A. Yu.
Publication: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change. 11: 883-896.
Key Words: Abies sibirica, coarse woody debris, dark coniferous forest, fuel load, Picea obovata, prescribed fire, Siberian moth, snag
Abstract: Mechanical treatment and prescribed fire were used to restore a mixed conifer stand (Picea-Abies-Pinus) following mortality from an outbreak of Siberian moth (Dendrolimus superans sibiricus). Moth-killed stands often become dominated by Calamagrostis, a sod-forming grass. The large amount of woody debris and the sod hinder coniferous seedling establishment and development as well as creating conditions favorable to the establishment and propagation of wildfires. Fire has been demonstrated to be an effective method of reducing woody debris and eliminating sod, but the random nature and timing of wildfires often do not create conditions favorable for conifer regeneration. Our study was conducted in a mature fir dominated stand that died during an outbreak 6-8 years previously with most of the dead trees still standing. A bulldozer drove through the stand downing standing snags in late summer with 15-20 m between passes. Snags knocked down by the bulldozer and additional snag fall throughout the following winter increased downed dead wood 50-60% and large downed dead wood 80% compared to an adjacent untreated area. In June, a prescribed fire was set and fuel load consumption averaged 70%. Average soil temperatures during the burn ranged from 47 degrees C at a depth of 2 cm to 10 degrees C at 10 cm; hot enough to kill the grass. Following treatment, the potential for wildfire was reduced and the area was suitable for either natural conifer regeneration or planting without further mechanical site preparation.
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