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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 313

Dog Creek and Dunderberg Peak aspen prescribed burns

Between mid-November and early December the Bishop Field Office Mono Basin and Topaz  Fire Crews, and Inyo and Toiyabe National Forest fire personnel completed 40 acres of fall/winter prescribed fires within select aspen and meadow communities in the Bridgeport Management Area.  The project, designed by wildlife biologist Steve Nelson, aims to improve aspen and meadow habitat by increasing the vigor, coverage, and number of aspen (Populus tremuloides), and manage upland shrub encroachment into the meadow components of these sites.  These objectives tie to "Desired Plant Community" goals for aspen communities in the Bishop Field Office Resource Management Plan (1993). (text continues below)

Tanner Hartman ignites the lower Dog Creek site:
Tanner Hartman ignites the lower Dog Creek site

Because aspen is a fire-adapted species, prescribed fire can be used very effectively to regenerate aspen. Fire provides two of the three essential elements of the aspen regeneration triangle. Killing overstory stems and injuring lateral roots provides hormonal stimulation to initiate sucker production. Removal of competing vegetation and blackening the soil surface (allowing it to be warmed by the sun) creates ideal growing conditions for suckers. Burning also releases nutrients that contribute to the growth of suckers (Sheppard et. al 2006).

Fire crews artfully and competently carried out these prescriptions with Stuart Volkland acting as burn boss.  Special thanks to the Interagency fire crews and Stuart for their flexibility and professionalism in project implementation.

Wayne D. Shepperd, Paul C. Rogers , David Burton,  Dale L. Bartos.  2006. Ecology, Biodiversity, Management, and Restoration of Aspen in the Sierra Nevada. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-178.

Site after ignition:

Dunderberg Peak prescribed burn:
Dunderberg Peak prescribed burn

- A. Halford, 11/07

BLM California News.bytes, issue 313

Last updated: 01-09-2008