An Evaluation of Fuel-Reduction Treatments Across a Landscape Gradient in Piedmont Forests: Preliminary Results of the National Fire and Fire Surrogate StudyThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
The National Fire and Fire Surrogate (NFFS) Study is a large-scale study of the impacts of fuel-reduction treatments on ecological and economic variables. This paper examines prescribed burning and thinning as fuel-reduction treatments on one site of the national study, the southeastern Piedmont. Fuel loads were examined across a landscape gradient before and after treatment. Fuel treatments provided fairly predictable changes to the litter, duff, fine woody fuels, and large woody fuels. Prescribed burning reduced most fuels while thinning tended to increase woody fuels because logging debris was scattered throughout the thinned areas. These patterns varied by landscape position. On mesic sites, burning did not reduce the duff, and none of the treatments changed loading of woody fuels. These results suggest that fuel-reduction treatments may alter numerous components of an ecosystem and that these impacts vary according to landscape position.