Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Christopher Keyes

Commitee Members

Andrew Larson, Anna Sala


heterogeneity, old-growth restoration, spatial heterogeneity, wildfire hazards, Old-growth ponderosa pine, western Montana


University of Montana


Silvicultural restoration treatments are increasingly proposed to restore ecological function and remediate catastrophic wildfire hazards in old-growth ponderosa pine stands throughout the western United States. However, stand heterogeneity has been inadequately addressed in restoration and fuel treatment planning. In response, we analyzed two old-growth ponderosa pine forest restoration projects in western Montana with different moisture regimes. We utilized available fixed-area plot data to describe heterogeneity by analyzing the distributions of current and anticipated post-treatment plot conditions, and contrasted these with stand-average depictions. The study’s findings illustrate that distributions of overstory structure, fuels, and modeled fire hazards are typically non-normal, skewed, and wide ranging. Average values spatially homogenized conditions and were of less interpretive value. Spatial analysis tools used with stem map data (more typically used in the forest ecology literature) from the same sample area supported our observations derived from the fixed-area plot data that is more commonly collected by managers. This analytical approach provides a more comprehensive depiction wildfire hazards in old growth ponderosa pine stands and demonstrates that heterogeneity is an important descriptive component of these rare ecological resources.



© Copyright 2011 Kyle Crosby Stover