Fire and fuel management in coast redwood

PARTNERS: National Park Service – Redwood National and State Parks, California Department of Parks and Recreation, Bureau of Land Management, Humboldt State University

SUMMARY: The historical fire regimes of the coast redwood are among the most controversial of any forest type in North America. Strong latitudinal, longitudinal, and topographic gradients have been theorized, but the science is unavailable to support these beliefs. What science that is available is contradictory, due to differing methodologies and perspectives. The basic research provided by this three-year study, proposed in February 2007, will greatly reduce the scientific uncertainty for the most critical portions of the tree species’ range. The objective of the study is to characterize disturbance, forest composition, and structural reference conditions of the coast redwood forest. That knowledge will inform discussions of how critical wildlife habitat developed, a partial blueprint for restoration of second growth, and how remnant old growth patches can be sustained over time. Past fire regimes will be reconstructed for the coast redwood forest type on public lands of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, California. Reference conditions including fire regimes, fuel type, wind regimes, historical vegetation structure and composition, and Native American fire use will be modeled using GIS. These maps will provide baseline information for public and private land managers of old growth and second growth redwood on the north coast.

STATUS: Completed


Coast Redwood Ecology and Management website

Steve Norman, EFETAC Research Ecologist, or (828) 259-0535

Updated June 2017

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