Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Managing for landscape resilience in the frequent-fire forests of central Oregon Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2n49t409g

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  • Wildfire in dry, frequent-fire forests is a pressing issue for natural resource managers, communities and politicians in the western United States. Area affected by wildfire has climbed steadily over the last twenty years and is expected to increase in the future. Recognition of the importance of both social and biophysical influences on wildfire management has led to calls for integrated social-ecological research and new methods for studying ecosystems that incorporate both social and biophysical science. This project integrates social and biophysical research methods to address research questions related to wildfire, forest dynamics, and management of national forestlands in Oregon's Central Cascades. Qualitative content analysis is paired with landscape modeling to answer research questions related to managing frequent-fire forests for landscape resilience. Collectively, both approaches present a more complete understanding of challenges and opportunities related to managing for landscape resilience than could either approach on its own. One common thread identified in both approaches is the importance of bringing more fire onto the landscape, either through the use of prescribed fire or carefully managed wildfire. Both interview respondents and modeling results demonstrate the importance of using managed fire to reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire. Another compelling result of the analysis stemmed from modeling simulations which showed current levels of management to lead to the same amount of high-severity fire as a no management scenario. Finally, the modeling results demonstrated that not every acre has to be managed to reduce wildfire risk across a larger landscape. Landscape-scale management plans are thus critical to the development of effective management strategies, and forest plans may fulfill this role. Forest Service budgeting based on forest plans could lead to more efficient, effective, and responsive public administration of federal lands.
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