Fire, Restoration and Emerging Novelty in the Rocky Mountain Trench
Keywords. Grassland, Range, Prescribed Fire, Disturbance
Summary. The Rocky Mountain trench's grassland and open ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir (Pinus ponderosa/Psuedotsuga menziesii) ecosystems have experienced fire exclusion for over 100 years. This alteration in the historical disturbance regime has allowed forests to encroach, reducing ungulate forage and, together with invasive species and climate change, threatening native plant communities. More heavily forested areas also increase the risk of severe wildfires. Restoration in this area, conducted through a collaboration of various government agencies and non-government stakeholders, primarily focusses on reducing forestation of open areas and preventing catastrophic wildfires through prescribed burning, thinning, timber harvesting, and mastication. Management prescriptions aim to restore an ecosystem with frequent low-severity fires.
Acknowledgements. Thank you to Eric Higgs for providing feedback on this case study.