Impacts of Fire Exclusion and Recent Managed Fire on Forest Structure in Old Growth Sierra Nevada Mixed-Conifer Forests

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Researchers re-sampled areas included in an unbiased 1911 timber inventory conducted by the US Forest Service over a 4000 ha study area. Over half of the re-sampled area burned in relatively recent management- and lightning-ignited fires. This allowed for comparison of both areas that have experienced recent fire and areas with no recent fire, to the same areas historically based on early forest inventories. Results indicate substantially altered present forest conditions, relative to the 1911 data, and can largely be attribute to the disruption of the key ecosystem process for these forests, fire. The findings presented can be used by managers and ecologists interested in restoring Sierra Nevada mixed conifer systems.