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Webinar - Diggin' Dirt: Fuel Reduction Practices and Their Effects

http://nrfirescience.org/event/diggin-dirt-fuel-reduction-practices-and-their-effects

Time listed is MDT.

This webinar will be presented by Matt Busse.

Soils are exceedingly complex. They contain a diverse array of minerals and organic compounds, chemical reactions, physical states, and biological diversity, and are responsible for countless ecological functions that belie their common appearance and colloquial namesake (dirt). Most importantly, soils sustain life by providing plants with essential nutrients, water, and physical support. They also play a major role in providing a clean water supply, degrading toxic compounds, supplying novel antibiotics for human health, and circulating greenhouse gases.

How do the above foundational soil processes translate to forest management and, particularly, to on-the-ground fuel management practices? For example, are all soils sufficiently resilient to cope with fire or harvesting disturbance? If not, which soils are least resilient and why, and which fuel treatments are most damaging to soil? These questions will be addressed by providing an overview of a recently published Joint Fire Science Program-based synthesis report on soils and fuel reduction practices.

Discussion topics will include:

  • ecological consequences of prescribed fire on soil heating, water repellency, and soil nutrient release
  • pile burning
  • whole tree harvesting and nutrient removal
  • the evils of soil compaction

It will be argued that with thoughtful planning and implementation, reducing fuels while proactively managing our soils can be complementary outcomes.