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Two decades of uncharacteristically severe wildfires have caused government and private land managers to actively reduce hazardous fuels to lessen wildfire severity in western forests, including riparian areas. Because riparian fuel treatments are a fairly new management strategy, we set out to document their frequency and extent on federal lands in the western U.S. Seventy-four USDA Forest Service Fire Management Officers (FMOs) in 11 states were interviewed to collect information on the number and characteristics of riparian fuel reduction treatments in their management district. Just under half of the FMOs surveyed (43%) indicated that they were conducting fuel reduction treatments in riparian areas. The primary...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2664.12847/full): Climate models predict increasing drought intensity and frequency for many regions, which may have negative consequences for tree recruitment, growth and mortality, as well as forest ecosystem services. Furthermore, practical strategies for minimizing vulnerability to drought are limited. Tree population density, a metric of tree abundance in a given area, is a primary driver of competitive intensity among trees, which influences tree growth and mortality. Manipulating tree population density may be a mechanism for moderating drought-induced stress and growth reductions, although the relationship between tree population density and...