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Fire Ecology, 2014
Volume 10, Issue 1

Post-Fire Seeding in Western United States Forests: Perspectives of Resource Managers
Authors: Donna L. Peppin, Anne L. Mottek-Lucas, and Peter Z. Fulé
Pages: 31-42
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.1001031

Recent reviews have brought into question the effectiveness of post-fire seeding in mitigating soil erosion and non-native plant invasions, yet millions of dollars continue to be spent annually on post-fire seeding as a primary post-fire rehabilitation response. Overall policy development and implementation direction regarding post-fire rehabilitation treatments rests heavily on national- and regional-level natural resource managers. We conducted personal interviews and telephone surveys with the population of national- and regional-level natural resource managers (N = 6 and N = 17, respectively) involved directly in post-fire seeding activities on federally managed lands. We found that 71 % of the respondents felt that information on the long-term effects of seeding was not sufficient. Respondents’ perception about the effectiveness of seeding in curtailing spread of non-native species was mixed: 64 % felt seeding was very or somewhat effective and 36 % felt it was not effective at all. Additional monitoring and research is needed that utilizes cost-benefit analyses for areas where values at risk are high. These analyses include whether or not to seed, seeding implementation methods, seed mix composition, and effectiveness of seeding in curtailing non-native species spread and reducing soil erosion. The majority of information available on seeding comes from short-term studies (≤2 years). Testimonies and recent reviews demonstrate the need for review and refinement of current policy that includes stronger mandates and adequate funding for dedicated staff to conduct long-term monitoring spanning 5 years to 10 years. Land managers and scientists agree that there is a need for data on the long-term effectiveness of seeding treatments as well as further inquiry regarding effectiveness of seeding in mitigating non-native species invasions. Stronger communication and collaboration between these two groups would allow researchers to develop well-replicated monitoring designs for areas that land managers consider to be high priority for intensive quantitative long-term research of post-fire treatments.

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