Event Title

Assessment of Vegetation Response to Wildfire at Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico: Case Study of the Las Conchas Fire

Start Date

8-11-2017 1:30 PM

End Date

8-11-2017 5:30 PM

Description

In the past couple of decades, there has been an increase in the occurrence of wildfire events in the United States. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that over 73,000 wildfires on average occur annually in the U.S., burning about 7.3 million acres of land. Bandelier National Monument, in northern New Mexico, has been affected by several wildfires in the past 40 years, one of the most recent being the Las Conchas fire in 2011, which burned over 150,000 acres of land in Bandelier National Monument and Valles Caldera National Preserve. This research is a remote-sensing based assessment of vegetation recovery from the Las Conchas fire using vegetation classifications derived from high spatial resolution aerial imagery. Post-fire vegetation change was analyzed and correlated with fire severity and fire frequency. Initial results indicate that areas that suffered vegetation mortality as a result of fire exposure have exhibited growth of New Mexico Locust, Gambel Oak, and Quaking Aspen, which has been documented in previous studies of wildfire in forested areas of New Mexico. This study is relevant for the understanding and management of wildfire-affected landscapes in arid and semi-arid regions, and contributes to a growing knowledge of the effects of large, high severity wildfires on vegetation distribution and resilience.

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Nov 8th, 1:30 PM Nov 8th, 5:30 PM

Assessment of Vegetation Response to Wildfire at Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico: Case Study of the Las Conchas Fire

In the past couple of decades, there has been an increase in the occurrence of wildfire events in the United States. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that over 73,000 wildfires on average occur annually in the U.S., burning about 7.3 million acres of land. Bandelier National Monument, in northern New Mexico, has been affected by several wildfires in the past 40 years, one of the most recent being the Las Conchas fire in 2011, which burned over 150,000 acres of land in Bandelier National Monument and Valles Caldera National Preserve. This research is a remote-sensing based assessment of vegetation recovery from the Las Conchas fire using vegetation classifications derived from high spatial resolution aerial imagery. Post-fire vegetation change was analyzed and correlated with fire severity and fire frequency. Initial results indicate that areas that suffered vegetation mortality as a result of fire exposure have exhibited growth of New Mexico Locust, Gambel Oak, and Quaking Aspen, which has been documented in previous studies of wildfire in forested areas of New Mexico. This study is relevant for the understanding and management of wildfire-affected landscapes in arid and semi-arid regions, and contributes to a growing knowledge of the effects of large, high severity wildfires on vegetation distribution and resilience.