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Managing for Old Growth in Frequent-fire Landscapes

Carl E. Fiedler, College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana
Peter Friederici, School of Communication, Northern Arizona University
Mark Petruncio, Forestry Program, Yakama Nation
Charles Denton, Ecological Restoration Institute
W. David Hacker, Forestry Department, New Mexico Highlands University


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There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing frequent-fire, old-growth forests. However, there are general guidelines to follow: 1) set objectives for both structure (tree density, diameter distribution, tree species composition, spatial arrangement, amount of coarse woody debris) and function (nutrient cycling, desired tree species regeneration); 2) prioritize treatments according to ecological, economic, and social needs and risks; 3) identify the potential treatments (natural fire, prescribed fire, silvicultural cutting) that best meet the objectives and scale of the project; and 4) implement the treatment(s). We discuss each of these guidelines in this article.

Key words

fire, forest management, function, silvicultural treatments, structure, thinning
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087