We analyzed historical timber inventory data collected systematically across four large landscapes, along with historical ariel photography from another landscape to gain insight into the interaction between disturbances and vegetation structure prior to 20th century land management practices. In general, historical forest structure was very open, but highly variable. Topography and moisture availability were important drivers of this variability, with lower tree densities occurring in both lower elevations and in areas with lower available moisture. In many areas, historical tree densities and basal areas were lower than current restoration targets for mixed-conifers forests in California, suggesting that targets and the management guidelines they are based on should be modified to accommodate the full suite of forest conditions that restoration would entail.
Brandon Collins, PhD
US Forest Service-Pacific Southwest Research Station &
University of California, Berkeley
Brandon Collins is a Research Scientist in a partnership between US Forest Service-Pacific Southwest Research Station, and UC Berkeley-Center for Fire Research and Outreach. He is also an Adjunct Professor with UC Berkeley, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. Brandon has a B.S. in Forestry from UC Berkeley, a M.S. in Forest Science from Colorado State University, and a Ph.D. in Wildland Fire Science from UC Berkeley. His research interests involve investigating effects of fire and fuels treatments on forests. Much of Brandon’s research is intended to directly inform forest management, with particular emphasis on improving resilience to wildfire and drought.