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Bentley, Lisa Patrick Use of TLS for fire fuels management and carbon accounting in Northern California Poster
Brieanne Forbes1, Paris Krause1, Phil Wilkes2, Ryan Ferrell3, Sean Reilly4, Melina Kozanitas5, David Ackerly5, Lisa Micheli3, Matthew Clark1, Mathias Disney2 and Lisa Patrick Bentley1
(1) Sonoma State University(2) University College London, UK(3) Pepperwood Preserve(4) Oxford University(5) University of California, Berkeley

Over the past several decades, the western United States has experienced a significant increase in fire activity in terms of burned area extent and number of large fires. In California, economic costs related to wildfire have escalated due to the expanding wildland-urban interface, the legacy of fire exclusion associated with suppression activities, and more favorable climatic conditions for large fires. To evaluate forest health with respect to fire fuels management, as well as the potential greenhouse gas impacts of these management decisions, critical forestry parameters must be estimated, such as tree aboveground biomass (AGB) and fire fuel loads. Using a terrestrial laser scanner (TLS), we acquired detailed measurements of forest structure in an oak-woodland in northern California that had varying levels of burn severity following wildfires in 2017. While various formulas and algorithms to predict AGB and fire fuel loads are typically used for fire fuels modeling, we aimed to determine if these were inaccurate, incomplete, and lead to large site-to-site variances. Indeed, AGB allometric equations often assume perfect cylindrical growth of a single stem and do not incorporate coppice growth with multiple stems and interlocking limbs (e.g., oak-woodlands regenerating after fire). Further, it is unknown how well traditional forestry approaches estimate ground and ladder fuels. We expect that our study will inform forest managers and lead to improved techniques for evaluating forest fuels management outcomes across diverse California forested ecosystems.