Working Paper 39
Forest conditions in the southwestern United States are often the legacy of past land use since Euro-American settlement, including historical fire suppression, livestock grazing, and logging practices (Cooper 1960, Covington and Moore 1994). These forests are often the focus of restoration and fuels reduction projects to address altered stand structure and dense forest conditions. Increased wild fire activity and a higher frequency and intensity of fire and wildfire risk has led to concerns about the effectiveness of current forest management practices across western landscapes. Dense stands with small- diameter trees are more likely to experience extreme fire behavior (Fulé et al. 2001, 2002), and these dense stands alter insect and pathogen/disease activity. For example, trees in dense stands are less resistant to bark beetle attack (Parker et al. 2006, Hoffman et al. 2007) and stands with severe dwarf mistletoe infestations have higher fuels (Hoffman et al. 2007) that may increase fire intensity (Harrington and Hawksworth 1990, Conklin and Geils 2008).