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Forest Ecology & Management

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Climatic changes, Fire management, Hazard mitigation, Carbon sequestration -- Simulation methods -- Models and modeling


In this review, we summarize the potential impacts of climate change on wildfire activity in the mid­-Atlantic region, and then consider how the beneficial uses of prescribed fire could conflict with mitigation needs for climate change, focusing on patters of carbon (C) sequestration by forests in the region. We use a synthesis of field studies, eddy flux tower measurements, and simulation studies to evaluate how the use of prescibed fire affects short-and long-term forest C dynamics. Climate change may create weather conditions more conducive to wildfire activity, but successional changes in forest composition, altered gap dynamics, reduced understory and forest floor fuels, and fire suppression will likely continue to limit wildfire occurrence and severity throughout the region. Prescribed burning ls the only major viable option that land managers have for redudng hazardous fuels in a cost-effective manner, or ensuring the regeneration and maintenance of fire-dependent species. Field measurements and model simulations indicate that consumption of fine fuels on the forest floor and understory vegetation during most prescribed burns is equivalent to


Published by Elsevier B.V. 2013

This work was written in the course of employment by the United States Government and it is not subject to copyright in the United States.



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