Wildfire disturbance – recovery dynamics in Acadia National Park: feedbacks between climate change and ecosystem resilience.

Charpentier, J.E., P.A. Palmiotto, W.A. Patterson III, and R. Thiet. Manuscript in preparation. Wildfire disturbance – recovery dynamics in Acadia National Park: feedbacks between climate change and ecosystem resilience.

Abstract: With limited available funding and the high cost of fuel treatments, fire managers in the northeast have been challenged with quantifying and prioritizing which lands are in greatest need for fuel reduction.   Our analysis of post-fire stand development and fuel loading will fill this data gap and provide managers a better understanding of long-term vegetation and fuel changes in forest communities that did and did not experience fire in the past century. We will provide empirical evidence of fire hazard, fuel loading, and vegetation changes after wildfire in Acadia National Park (ANP). Our spatial analysis will quantify and map existing live and dead fuel loads, and identify management units for fuel reduction action. We will use an integration of GIS software to extrapolate fuel loading spatially across the full extent of ANP. Spatial predictions will be calculated from empirical data by use of regression analysis. The co-occurrence model will include critical fire behavior factors such as elevation, aspect, slope, and fuel continuity. LANDFIRE data of expected fire behavior and effects will be used to compute and spatially portray current fire hazard. The goal is to provide information about current fuel loads for active fire management. Our fire hazard model is necessary to achieve the greatest possible benefits from limited resources for fire management, at a scale that is useful to National Park Service resource managers.