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Study: Forest patch treatments help protect older trees

A three-year study in Washington shows that even small areas of well-treated forest can reduce the intensity of fires and the damage to older trees.

Study suggests thinning, combined with fuels removals, could help make forests more resilient to climate change

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Even small fuel treatments of only a few acres can help reduce wildfire severity and protect older trees desirable for timber, wildlife, and carbon-storage values, according to the results of a three-year study recently completed in Washington. Such treatments could also help make forests more resilient in the face of climate change, a team of university and Forest Service researchers concluded.

“If dense forests are thinned and the surface fuels are removed, then ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir trees have a better chance of surviving an intense wildfire,” said Susan Prichard, a University of Washington research scientist and senior author of the study conducted after the 175,000 acre Tripod Fire. Continue reading

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