Increased wildfire activity and altered post-fire climate in the Southern Rocky Mountains has the potential to influence forest resilience. The Southern Rocky Mountains are a leading edge of climate change and have experienced record-breaking fires in recent years. The change in post-fire regeneration and forest resilience could potentially include future ecological trajectories. In this paper, we examined patterns of post-fire spectral recovery using Landsat time series. Additionally, we utilized random forest models to analyze the impact of climate and burn severity on three fire events in the Southern Rocky Mountains. Fifteen years following the fires, none of the burned stands fully recovered to their pre-fire spectral states. The results suggested that burn severity significantly impacted post-fire spectral recovery, but that influence may decrease as time since fire increases. The biggest difference in forest recovery was among fire events, indicating that post-fire climate may be influential in post-fire recovery. The mean and minimum growing-season temperatures were more significant to post-fire recovery than the variability in precipitation, which is consistent with field-based analysis. The present study indicated that, as warming continues, there may be changes in forest density where forests are not regenerating to their pre-fire spectral states. Additionally, this study emphasizes how high-elevation forests continue to regenerate after fires, but that regeneration is markedly affected by post-fire climate.
climate change, disturbances, fires, forest resilience, landsat, Lodgepole pine, regeneration, the southern Rocky Mountains
Guz, Jaclyn; Sangermano, Florencia; and Kulakowski, Dominik, "The Influence of burn severity on post-fire spectral recovery of three fires in the southern Rocky Mountains" (2022). Geography. 25.
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