• An evaluation of fuels conversion treatments in Interior Alaska

      St. Clair, Thomas Barton (2006-05)
      The study site was a permafrost-free upland site with an east-northeast aspect, west/northwest of Fairbanks at mile 10 on the Cache Creek road in a mixed hardwood/spruce stand of Betula neoalaskana Sarg., Populus tremuloides Michx., Populus balsamifera L., Picea glauca (Moench) Voss, and Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP. In treatments designed to encourage hardwood growth, four different methods were used for removing vegetation (shearblading, masticating head, drum-crusher, and chainsaw thinning), resulting material was then left in place, burned, or chunked and removed. Treatments were evaluated using man/machine hour and dollar cost data and Permanent Sample Plot (PSP) data. PSPs were installed within six different fuels conversion treatments and a control for monitoring purposes. A pilot study revealed that debris pile burning changed soil color (more red) and soil water repellency properties. All treatments that had one full growing season showed hardwood regeneration. Shearblading and leaving material on site was the least labor-intensive treatment and least costly. Burning windrows was the least labor-intensive and least costly method of removing material from the site.