Natural Resource & Environmental Management
#34-96 “Effects of Spring and Fall Prescribed Fire Treatments”
Scott Stephens, Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management, UC Berkeley
Prescribed fire is often used as a tool to reduce accumulated vegetative fuel loads in the wildland-urban interface, but little is known about whether certain fuel reduction methods and their timing promote invasion of non-native plants. Prescribed fire and mastication (slashing) treatments were compared at various seasons in mature chaparral communities and subsequently surveyed for 3 years. Winter and spring fire treatment plots were most resistant to non-native invasives, while mastication treatments were found to produce the highest incidence of non-native invasive species, particularly annual grasses. Where prescribed fire is not feasible, mastication may provide an alternative that may maintain native plant seedbanks over time if the site remains undisturbed for several decades.