News.bytes, BLM California News.bytes Extra, issue 182

Northwest California Resource Advisory Council Hears Update on Fuels Reduction Research

Members of the Bureau of Land Management's Northwest California Resource Advisory Council got an in depth look at prescribed fire research, when they met in Ukiah Thursday and Friday, Nov. 4 and 5.

Above: Research plots are clearly marked

Jennifer Potts, a University of California, Berkeley graduate student, updated the council on her ongoing studies at the UC Hopland Experimental Station and on BLM-managed public lands at Cow Mountain. Jennifer has established numerous test plots where she has worked with BLM and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to compare the results of prescribed fire and mastication (brush crushing). The research compares the vegetation response, wildlife habitat response and wildlife population responses between the two methods, and the differing responses from treatments conducted at various times of year.

The work will provide important data for resource managers who must plan fuel reduction projects to achieve specific results that can include fire safety for communities, improvements in the health of plant communities and wildlife habitat improvement.

The council also heard a report from graduate student Danny Fry, who is researching the best methods to improve the regeneration rates for knob cone pine, a desired species on lands managed by the Ukiah Field Office

Following detailed briefings, the RAC members toured several project sites at the field station.

Below: Jennifer Potts, left, explains a project test plot to members of the Northwest RAC and other participants in the meeting.

Below: Jennifer Potts and RAC member Philip Moyer discuss vegetation response during a tour of a Hopland Field Station test plot. Listening, from left, are RAC members Bill Radtkey, Michael Kelley and Ryan Henson.

Below: Part of Jennifer's research involves recording the changes in plant diversity following burning or mechanical vegetation treatments. This plant, commonly called Christmas Berry, (Heteromeles arbutifolia) is doing well on a hillside in the Hopland Field Station.

Above: A reward of the RAC field tour was a beautiful autumn view of the El Sanel Valley, which lies south of Ukiah, and the Coast Range.

To News.bytes, issue 182