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Scientists synthesize best practices for fuels management in dry mixed conifer forests

FORT COLLINS, Colo., Nov. 26, 2012 – USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists along with collaborators from Humboldt State University, the University of Montana, and the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, synthesized a vast array of information on the ecology, management strategies, and effectiveness of fuel treatments within the dry mixed conifer forests of the northwestern United States. Because dry mixed conifer forests cover such a broad and diverse region of forested landmass, researchers made site-specific visits to federal, state, and tribal land management organizations to conduct over 50 interviews with resource specialists in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Oregon, South Dakota, and California. By incorporating the most relevant scientific research and best practice approaches, scientists used this information to develop an organizational framework to support land management strategies. This collaborative effort, co-funded by the Joint Fire Sciences Program and National Fire Plan, is published in a technical report, “A Comprehensive Guide to Fuels Management Practices for Dry Mixed Conifer Forests in the Northwestern United States.”

“This synthesis is unique because it is designed to enhance cross-disciplinary communication among key stakeholders and land managers; it’s a gateway to a more robust online portal which provides an interactive literature list to access cited references in the publication,” says Dr. Terrie Jain, Research Forester, and the project’s lead scientist. “We focused on information to directly address questions and concerns presented by land managers, which can also be a useful tool for National Environmental Policy Act planning because it provides key information in one easily accessible location for planning and forecasting,” elaborated Jain.

Key sections of the report include:

  • A comprehensive summary of dry mixed conifer forest ecology, management, and fuel treatment effectiveness guidelines.
  • Options to address land management challenges developed through direct discussions with forest and fuels managers.
  • Various management strategies to treat fuels, including mechanical, biological, chemical, and prescribed fire alternatives to promote fire-resilient ecosystems.
  • U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis information to assess current conditions and economic feasibility.
  • Organized and simple to read layouts to enhance understanding and relevance among readers.

Dr. Jain will be presenting this scientific compilation at the upcoming 5thInternational Fire Ecology Management Congress in Portland, Oregon on Thursday, December 7th, 2012. To download or read the report online, please visit: http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_gtr292.html, or to request a cd or printed copy (available after Dec. 1st, 2012) call (970) 498-1392, or email Richard Schneider at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and reference RMRS-GTR-292.

The RMRS is one of seven regional units that make up the U.S. Forest Service Research and Development organization – the most extensive natural resources research organization in the world. The Station maintains 12 field laboratories throughout a 12-state territory encompassing the Great Basin, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, and parts of the Great Plains, and administers and conducts research on 14 experimental forests, ranges, and watersheds, while maintaining long-term databases for these areas. RMRS research is broken into seven science program areas that serve the Forest Service as well as other federal and state agencies, international organizations, private groups and individuals. To find out more about the RMRS go to www.fs.fed.us/rmrs. You can also follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rmrs_hq.

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